It seems crazy to suggest that a doctor in this modern age would operate on patients without the benefit of malpractice insurance to protect them both if something goes wrong. However, Ohio doesn’t require doctors to carry any minimum coverage.
This isn’t a problem that’s specific to Ohio. A lot of people travel to “surgical hotspots,” like Florida, for specific types of plastic surgery or other procedures without ever realizing their surgeon is “going bare” without financial protection in case of a mistake. Since the majority of states don’t actually require doctors to carry insurance and malpractice insurance is expensive, some physicians have adopted the attitude of one surgeon who said, simply, “Why pay it if you don’t have to?”
How bad is the problem of uninsured doctors?
A USA Today investigation into the problem in Florida was particularly troubling. Investigators found that Florida is one of the top tourist destinations for people seeking inexpensive plastic surgery, yet the odds that a surgeon has skipped out on medical malpractice insurance is one out of five.
Many of those doctors can boast of being “board-certified,” which some patients may assume means that they are in safe hands. Yet, those same doctors are also 44% more likely to be the subject of professional discipline than doctors who carry insurance. Indeed, some uninsured physicians have merely hopped from one state to another after being disciplined elsewhere.
What does a lack of insurance mean for an injured patient?
A surgical injury can be physically, emotionally and financially devastating to the victim. Aside from a mound of hospital bills, injured patients can be left unable to work and in need of massive amounts of corrective surgery and rehab therapy. When there’s no insurance, recovery for damages can be difficult.
If you’re contemplating any kind of elective surgery, don’t be shy about checking into your doctor’s insurance status. If your prospective surgeon is doing without, it might be wise to consider another.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to the negligent actions of a plastic surgeon, find out how you can legally recover your losses.