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Discipline rates among physicians can vary greatly between states

Many Pittsburgh residents visit a doctor each year. Whether they go because they are ill or for a routine appointment, they expect their doctor to offer an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment plan. We have excellent medical care in the United States so this is usually true. But, occasionally a medical error like asurgical error occurs. These errors can result in the physician facing discipline but a new study shows that the physician discipline rate varies between states.

A study published in BMJ Quality and Safety focused on the interstate adjusted mean rates of discipline actions for all actions among doctors. In Massachusetts, the discipline rate was 2.13 and in Delaware it was 7.93. The discipline rate for major actions was .64 in New York compared to 2.71 in Delaware.

The discrepancies in these numbers may be based on many factors. These include differences in reporting procedures between states, board resources to investigate a complaint, how many non-physicians sit on the medical board and the standards for making a decision on the discipline of a doctor. A nationalized medical board may help to regulate between the states and create a standard across all states that patients can trust.

When a person is injured by their doctor, suffers a worsened condition or even death they can feel angry and confused. A legal professional skilled in medical malpracticee can help a family get the answers they deserve. They can review medical records and consult with medical experts to determine what happened to cause the unexpected injury. If it is found that a doctor was negligent, they can hold the doctor responsible for their mistake. Compensation may be available for medical expenses, pain and suffering and other damages.

Source:, "Physician discipline rates vary fourfold between states", Diana Swift, March 25, 2016

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