When you check into a hospital for care, you do so with the expectation that every physician and nurse involved in your treatment is properly trained, experienced and credentialed to handle your medical needs. Unfortunately, as recent incidents have exemplified, this is not always the case. Questionable hiring practices commonly occur within hospitals and medically facilities. This is sometimes the result of inadequate vetting processes that fail to reveal past disciplinary or malpractice problems. Other times, hospitals and medical facilities blatantly choose to hire doctors with histories of causing injury. This lack of judgement can lead to additional patient injuries and may even result in the wrongful death of a patient.
How the Credentialing Process Should Work
While every hospital is different, there are some common vetting procedures that should take place before any physician is hired to work within a medical facility. The process begins with a thorough analysis of the physician’s application and suitability for employment. Hospital administrators should take the necessary time and effort to conduct a background investigation that includes:
- Verification of school records for degrees earned and residency programs completed
- Communication with former employers
- Licensing board checks to ensure current licensing
- Required disclosure of all disciplinary actions from state medical boards
- Consideration of all disciplinary matters
- Review of all medical malpractice claims
- Thorough investigation of all hospital privileges whether granted, denied or revoked
Some hospitals trust third-party recruiters to handle these tasks, while others handle this aspect of the vetting process on their own. Even if a third party is brought in to handle the vetting process, the hospital is ultimately responsible for implementing hiring practices that prevent future harms to patients. Failure to do so could be grounds for a hospital malpractice claim.
The Harmful Effects of Inadequate Vetting
When hospitals fail to properly vet their physicians, the consequences can be severe, and even deadly, for patients. A recent article in USA Today discussed the hiring practices of Veteran’s Administration hospitals. According to the article, despite what appears to be a vigorous vetting process, the VA has hired physicians with past medical malpractice claims, criminal records and disciplinary actions against their licenses. One particular surgeon, whose medical license was revoked in one state, landed a job at the VA, even though the administration reportedly had full knowledge of his past difficulties. Since his hiring, numerous patients have reported complications from his treatment, including a 65-year-old man who reportedly died while under his care. However, these incidents are in no way limited to the VA hospital system. Public and private facilities nationwide have inadequate hiring practices that lead to patient injuries.
Trust a Skilled Maryland and Washington D.C. Medical Malpractice Law Firm
If you were injured by a hospital physician, trust the attorneys of Schochor, Staton, Goldberg, and Cardea, P.A. to guide you through the medical malpractice claims process. We stand up to even the largest hospitals and aggressively fight to obtain the compensation you deserve. For more information, call our Baltimore, Maryland medical malpractice attorneys today at 410-234-1000 or use our contact form.