Have you ever wondered if your doctor is completely trustworthy? Perhaps
you’re shopping around for a new physician and aren’t sure
how to go about vetting the names you’ve gotten from your neighbor
or co-worker.

It used to be that people inherently trusted their doctors, but the public
has become much more aware of medical malpractice. Stories of botched
plastic surgery, birth injuries and surgical errors are common news items
that have made patients much more scrupulous. So where can a person find
the background information they need to make an informed choice about
their health care providers?

One good place for Cleveland residents to start is the website of the State
Medical Board of Ohio. There you can search for individual doctor’s
licenses. (Non-Ohio residents can check their own state’s medical
board website.) Not all state medical boards will offer exactly the same
information, but you can often find history on past medical malpractice
lawsuits and other black spots. Bear in mind, however, that these records
typically only list settled cases. Investigations or lawsuits currently
underway aren’t likely to show up.

Still skeptical after not finding any dirt on your doctor? The Federation
of State Medical Boards offers reports for about $10 per search of individual
physicians. These reports offer everything from medical school graduation
dates to alternate names and disciplinary actions against him or her.

These aren’t the only avenues for scoping out your doctor in advance.
Many doctors have readily available online profiles, where you can read
patient reviews (with a grain of salt of course — sometimes even
good treatment goes unappreciated by patients who aren’t entirely
trustworthy themselves).

If you’re reading this blog, you may have already fallen victim to
medical malpractice. When the damage has already been done, the next professional
to contact is a personal injury attorney who focuses on holding doctors
accountable for their past mistakes and ensuring that patients are properly
compensated.