In our last post, we mentioned that filing a complaint with the state medical board can be an appropriate avenue for an injured patient to seek some justice in his or her case. Complaints, or grievances, can be filed with respect to professional misconduct, standard of care, irregularities in practice and unethical conduct, all of which are issues that can come up in medical malpractice litigation.
Complaints can be filed by anyone, including patients, hospitals, government agencies, and other physicians and health care providers. Once a complaint is filed with the medical board, an investigation is conducted and the board holds a hearing to review the complaint. The board typically attempts to resolve complaints informally, but a formal hearing may be necessary to establish the facts in the case. Once the facts are sorted out, the board will determine whether disciplinary action is appropriate.
Although it isn’t necessary to have an attorney to pursue the complaint process, it can be helpful to work with experienced legal counsel. An experienced attorney can help make sure the patient submits a fully completed complaint, that the medical board receives all the information it needs to accurately assess the situation, and that the patient’s concerns and hopes for resolving the case are fully articulated and advocated.
Patients who have been harmed by a negligent physician have a right to understand their options for pursuing justice. Medical malpractice litigation is one option that should be evaluated, and the complaint process can be pursued either on its own or alongside legal proceedings, if the patient so desires.