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When someone in Ohio is trying to find out more about the surgeon who will be operating on him or her, there is very limited information available. Although there may be some records of sanctions taken by a medical review board, complaints are often kept confidential. The problem is, however, that not all complaints result in official action, meaning that there could be years’ worth of complaints that a patient will never see.

Although it is certainly not a patient’s responsibility to avoid medical malpractice and surgical errors, it would be unwise for a patient to select a surgeon with a horrible reputation. If there is anything a patient can do to minimize his or her chances of getting injured by negligent medical treatment, it makes sense to do it.

Yet, because complaints are generally kept confidential, the horrific treatment that an out-of-state patient experienced after surgery to his abdomen is not public knowledge. The pain and suffering he has experienced will not be available to other potential patients considering his surgeon and those potential patients could find themselves the victims of similar surgical errors.

It was only after the man had surgical tape left inside of him that his wife looked into their surgeon’s history. He had previously shown up to a surgical procedure under the influence of alcohol and his medical privileges had been restricted for more than a year. Though this could have been enough to turn the man away from the surgeon, if any confidential complaints were also available, it would have been even clearer not to use this surgeon.

Again, though it is not up to a patient to prevent medical malpractice, he or she can do a lot to minimize his or her risk of exposure to negligent treatment.