Many people do not realize it, but they can learn more about their doctors or health care providers':
- Malpractice insurance
- Malpractice suit records
To learn such info, first, ask your medical provider directly. Your physician should not be offended by this request. From other sources, you can find out if your physician has had prior disciplinary action.
You can also lookup a Florida medical license. On the Florida Department of Health's website, you will get the basic physician identifying information. Click "Practitioner Profile," and you will be taken to a page that lists several types of information about the physician supplied by the physicians themselves, including:
- Staff privileges
- Other states licensed
- Education and training
- Academic appointments
- Specialty certifications
- Criminal convictions
- Discipline and malpractice information
However, this website is only as good as the people that report, so keep digging. Click the "Financial Responsibility" tab to know if the provider carries malpractice insurance. Consider that if physicians report they agree to satisfy a judgment it means you must carry your case for an extended period through litigation and go through a verdict before you can even apply for the money. It's not the same as insurance, so it's always best to choose physicians that carry malpractice coverage.
Many providers report that although they don't carry personal insurance they are an employee of a hospital or medical facility so they may be covered by their employer. However, some doctors work for entities that are covered by sovereign immunity which means there is a cap under the law on the amount of recovery.
Florida Closed Liability Claims on Doctors & Hospitals
For additional malpractice history, you may want to look at Florida's Closed Claims page. Under this website, maintained on the Internet by the Florida Department of Financial Services, you will find out if your doctor has been sued and the outcome or resolution. This site offers information on the claims paid by malpractice insurance companies for doctors, hospitals, and even lawyers in Florida. Very few states provide this type of information to the public.
We recommend you do your search in the category of "all" counties because physicians move around within the state. Also, hospitals seem to change their names frequently, and we have seen doctor data sometimes listed using the doctor's middle name, and sometimes not. You can usually run a search just using the last name.
This database often has very useful information, but unfortunately, there is a great deal of information it does NOT have, including:
- Pending malpractice cases
- Cases won on a technicality, like the statute of limitations
- Claims from when the doctor practiced in any other state
- Claims paid by the doctor rather than malpractice insurance
- Disciplinary actions brought by hospitals against the doctor
- Disciplinary actions by the State of Florida
- Paid claims inadvertently not reported
- Claims against doctors-in-training
Additionally, you can look at your local courts to learn if ongoing lawsuits exist. You just Google your county and "clerk of courts" and you do your search.
Verdicts and Settlements Obtained in Miami Fatal Medical Malpractice Cases
Below we list fatal malpractice injuries that occurred in Miami-Dade in the past years and the indemnity that was paid. The cases are recorded on Florida's Closed Claims page.
- Alleged failure to recognize and timely treat an occlusive stroke causing irreversible damage and subsequent death of a 72-year-old man - $250K
- Alleged failure to properly care for, treat and notify physicians of unstable vital signs and low urine output resulting in the death of a 72-year-old married man - $400K
- Alleged failure to manage the patient's cardiac output and cardiac index post-operative resulting in death - $115K
- The patient voluntarily admitted to behavioral health issues. An unsuccessful suicide attempt followed. The patient died one week later due to traumatic brain injury - $11,5M
- Alleged improper performance of the surgical procedure, resulting in perforation of the anterior spinal artery and patient death - $250K
- Alleged failure to properly evaluate and complete appropriate cardiac studies to assess patient's heart function in a then 62-year-old man during his presentations to the Emergency Room with complaints of back pain which failed to timely diagnose and treat patient's myocardial infarction - $250M
- The patient presented to the ER with complaints of back and neck pain reportedly due to recent trauma/lifting injury, diagnosed with left cervical radiculopathy, and advised to follow-up with his PCP. Three days later he was admitted to the hospital with a STEMI. He was not a surgical candidate and was transported to another hospital for treatment and evaluation for a heart transplant; however, he died the following day. The claimant's attorney alleged a failure to obtain cardiac studies and obtain cardiology consult resulting in a delay in diagnosis of the patient's cardiac abnormality resulting in death - $250K
Let Our Miami Medical Malpractice Attorney Help
We offer our most sincere condolences to those who lost a loved one due to the actions or inaction of a doctor or other medical professional.
Medical malpractice occurs when a hospital, doctor, or other health care professional fails to provide the level of care that is expected. There are defined procedures for handling most medical issues and if they are not followed accurately the case may be considered one of malpractice.
When a doctor has several malpractice claims it is worrisome, but one or two claims over a long period may not tell you very much, at least if you don't know the details of the cases. The devil, as always, is in the details.
Have you lost a loved one as a result of a medical procedure? If you feel that a doctor may have been negligent and that carelessness caused an injury please contact The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary. We are here to help you fight for and protect your legal rights. Although we cannot undo the harm caused to you or a loved one, we can make sure you are fully compensated for your injuries and losses.