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Even highly rated doctors commit medical malpractice

Online ratings and reviews can be invaluable tools for consumers searching for anything from a good place for dinner to hiring a personal contractor for home renovations. However, just how accurately do some of those ratings reflect real life? Some California doctors might receive glowing reviews on the Internet, but upon closer inspection at real life outcomes, instances of medical malpractice can be startlingly high.

A surgeon who once performed procedures at an out-of-state hospital had his privileges to practice there revoked following a myriad of medical malpractice lawsuits from injured patients. However, records indicate that his privileges remain in good standing, even though he verbally told one of his patients that he could no longer perform surgeries at the hospital in question. Despite the false state records and positive reviews, he once held spot number five on the list of physicians with the highest complication rate for a particular surgery in his state.

In 2014, one of the surgeon's former patients began to suffer from extreme abdominal pain while on a family vacation. After reporting to the hospital, he was shocked to discover that he would require an appendectomy, a surgery that he had supposedly undergone just a year before. At least one other victim required a secondary appendectomy after the surgeon never actually removed the appendix. Both men have since filed medical malpractice suits.

So what exactly can potential patients learn from online reviews for health care providers? Unfortunately, perhaps not much. High complication rates and multiple instances of medical malpractice can still lurk behind positive reviews or ratings. Transparency is of critical importance in the world of health care, and California patients who have been left in the dark concerning doctors' past errors can easily become the next victims. For most injured victims, compensation from the navigation of a medical malpractice suit can be an instrumental aspect of a successful recovery.

Source: lohud.com, "Lower Hudson Valley surgeons rated and public records flawed", David Robinson, Aug. 1, 2015

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