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Florida may not penalize doctors who commit errors

If a doctor causes a mistake that leads to your injury, you want that person to be reprimanded and to face penalties. If not, then your injury may happen again to another patient. A report out of Florida is concerning, because it claims many doctors who are sued for malpractice aren't punished.

Even after being sued, very few doctors face disciplinary action. The Florida Department of Health penalized only 128 doctors involved in close to 24,000 federal and state lawsuits in the last 10 years. Why would this happen?

The health department spokesman explained that the doctors aren't penalized if payouts are less than $50,000 or if the cases are too old to prosecute. If you take those requirements into account, around 70 percent of cases won't result in any doctors facing disciplinary action, even if they should.

Is that really what happens in the cases? Some claim that the Health Department just doesn't follow through on penalizing doctors. For example, one case involved a doctor who was ordered to pay $600,000 to a patient. Despite that, no state disciplinary action was taken against the man. The state had ruled that he was negligent when operating and had cut into an artery. While the doctor no longer works in Florida, he is still allowed to practice there.

If you've been injured, it's your right to pursue compensation from your medical provider or the hospital. You can seek help to make sure the doctor is reprimanded or faces additional penalties if he or she made a serious error in your case.

Source: Modern Healthcare, "Report: Florida rarely punishes doctors sued for malpractice," Nov. 20, 2017

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