KUSA - Despite mistakes and misconduct, thousands of doctors across the country are still seeing and operating on patients. Some of them are right here in Colorado.
A USA Today investigation revealed that 6,000 doctors were banned by some hospitals or HMOs because of serious misconduct.
Half of them were not fined and did not have their licenses restricted, suspended or revoked.
Those doctors, roughly 3,000, will see or operate on patients tomorrow.
"We also looked at doctors who had an inordinate number of malpractice payments that they had made," said Peter Eisler with USA Today. "We looked at the 800 doctors, just 800 doctors around the country who are responsible for more than 10 percent of all malpractice payments that were made. Those doctors who had malpractice payments averaging over $5 million - only one in five of those doctors have been subject to any sort of licensure action."
The mother of a man who died, after what she calls unnecessary brain surgery, is on a mission. She wants to hold the medical field more accountable.
Patty Skolnik, who lives in Colorado, founded an organization called "Citizens for Patient Safety."
Its goal is to encourage people to ask questions about their medical care, just like they do with other things.
"You look up your plumber," Skolnik said. "You look up your car on CarFax. We do more due diligence about buying a car than we ever do if we're going to have surgery. And we need to. It's our responsibility to take some of this on - as consumers. And we're all going to be patients someday. Transparency is a must."
Three laws have passed in Colorado since 2007, as a direct result of Skolnik's efforts, making it easier to get information about your doctor.
One is named after her son, Michael, and requires doctors to complete online professional profiles.
For more information, visit the Citizens for Patient Safety website.
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