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Austin Cline

Texas Doctors Blacklisting Patients

By March 12, 2004

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Imagine: your doctor does something wrong - perhaps causing a death in the family - and you successfully sue. Thereafter, you can't get a doctor to treat you anymore because you are blacklisted. Does that sound ethical? Well, it's what's occurring in Texas - not simply to patients who abuse the system by suing everyone in sight but also to patients who have been seriously harmed and who deserved to be compensated.

Ralph Blumenthal writes for The New York Times about a new database that collects information on people who have successfully sued doctors and hospitals for malpractice, allowing physicians to refrain from treating them:

Mr. Dawson said, he was stunned this week to find that his name had been added to a little-known Internet database for doctors attacking "litigious behavior." His offense: filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against a Fort Worth hospital and doctor over the death of his 39-year-old wife, whose brain tumor was missed, and winning an undisclosed settlement.
For months, an obscure Texas company run by doctors has been operating a Web site, DoctorsKnow Us.com, that compiles and posts the names of plaintiffs, their lawyers and expert witnesses in malpractice lawsuits in Texas and beyond, regardless of the merit of the claim.
The American Medical Association said that it had just learned of the group and that it saw no ethical issues at stake. "There's no question that physicians are totally frustrated by the relentless assault on the medical profession by trial lawyers," said Dr. William G. Plested, chairman of the A.M.A.'s board of trustees and a cardiovascular surgeon in Santa Monica, Calif

If the AMA sees no ethical problems with people like Dawson being blacklisted and being unable to get medical care for his son, it's because they have lost their moral compass. People are being blacklisted regardless of why they have sued and won. It's one thing to be hesitant to treat a person who sues everyone for no good reason, but quite another when the person going without treatment is someone who has been seriously harmed and who had good reasons to sue. There is no oversight of this, no way to appeal being included, and apparently no way to deal with someone being added by mistake.

I wouldn't want to be ill while in Texas - I don't think that the doctors there can be trusted to do the right thing by their patients.

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August 10, 2006 at 3:27 pm
(1) joel says:

You don’t have to sue one of them to get blacklisted. Become the victim of a crime committed by one of them, or even the victim of an error, and then try to get someone to treat you. The offending or erring physician calls other physicians and tells them to keep you running around in circles, without disgnosing or treating you, until you give up. That can go on for years. In Canada and England and Australia patients report the same thing. And we cannot even warn warn each other about them without getting sued for defamation.

September 12, 2011 at 1:40 pm
(2) Donna says:

This is what I am dealing with right now in Canada.

March 28, 2011 at 2:19 pm
(3) sean says:

Wow you are so completely ignorant it makes my head spin. Doctors need some defense against the assault that greedy lawyers and plaintiffs are throwing at them.

March 28, 2011 at 3:30 pm
(4) Austin Cline says:

Wow you are so completely ignorant it makes my head spin.

Feel free to point out any factual errors, if you can.

Doctors need some defense against the assault that greedy lawyers and plaintiffs are throwing at them.

How about doing their job correctly? Maybe that’s expecting too much…

September 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm
(5) Donna says:

Sean filing a complaint has the same effect so what is your point.

This is also a way to conceal damage and injuries so a person cannot sue.Have the patient run around in circle for ever because they are refused tests.

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