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How can you know if your doctor has a good record?

Choosing a doctor is a serious matter, and you can invest considerable time and effort researching your decision. The good news is that in today's information age, you have many options available to do your homework, including the Internet and a variety of consumer reporting sites. But how much faith can you place in the information you gather from such sources?

Some recent cases in Ohio suggest that even if you have done your due diligence and the reviews of the physician that you see are favorable, you may still not be seeing the entire picture. And it is what you do not see that can be the most relevant information.

Take, for example, the case of an OB-GYN doctor in Cincinnati. His patient reviews on one online site were glowing, with expressions such as "The best doctor in Cincinnati." But what was missing was information that the same doctor is appealing the State Medical Board's permanent revocation of his medical license.

The reason for this blind spot is that the medical board does not make public complaints leveled against doctors until it is ready to propose disciplinary action. Thus, a potentially valuable source of information about a doctor's business practices and patient complaints can be difficult to access until, in some cases, at least, it is too late. In the case of the OB-GYN doctor above, complaints that had been lodged against him dating back to 2012 did not become public until this year.

The intent of this post is not to discourage you from researching physicians before choosing one. Rather, it is important to realize that even your best efforts can sometimes still not reveal significant adverse information because it is being kept secret as a matter of policy. If you experience harm as a result of medical malpractice even after doing your best research, then consulting with a personal injury law firm may be your next best course of action to consider.

Source: Cincinnati Enquirer, "Doctor complaints could be kept secret for years," Amber Hunt, April 8, 2015

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