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Physician negligence and misconduct: two separate issues that often go together for patients, P.2

In our previous post, we began looking at the distinction between physician misconduct and medical negligence, and the different avenues through which these things are handled. As we noted, medical malpractice and physician misconduct often go together, but it isn't always feasible for a patient to pursue a malpractice claim.

In cases where a cost-benefit analysis shows that it is too risky to pursue medical malpractice litigation, it is still possible for a patient to take steps to ensure a physician is scrutinized by the state medical board. Different state medical boards, of course, have different ways of handling physician misconduct. According to research, these differences can translate into different outcomes, with some states having a significantly higher rate of disciplinary action than others.

Ohio is reportedly among the states with the highest adjusted rates for all disciplinary actions. Some differences in discipline rates should be expected, but states on the extremes, according to researchers, may need to take a second look at their processes to ensure they fair to both doctors and patients. From a patient's perspective, the expectation is that a state medical board holds all doctors to the same ethical standards and that they take appropriate disciplinary action as necessary.

Patients are able to file a complaint with the state medical board to alert the board of any ethical violations or misconduct. The board is then able to make an investigation and take disciplinary action as needed. Although legal counsel is not necessary for filing a complaint, it can be helpful to have guidance from an attorney experienced with the process to ensure that a thorough complaint is filled out and properly filed. 

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