If you or a loved one is injured from substandard medical care, it is likely your first instinct is to file a complaint against the doctor. This is especially true when negligence causes death or the lack of treatment contributes to further pain and suffering. With doctor burnout on the rise, there is always the chance of a mistake during medical treatment, and it is understandable if you want justice. If you or a loved one face the misfortune of these shortcomings, here is what you need to know.
When do I file a complaint?
In Maryland, medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider fails to engage the same standard of care and skill as a reasonably competent provider with the same background and facing similar circumstances. When that lack of care results in harm or death, then the patient, or their survivors, may have a claim for medical malpractice.
You can start by filing a complaint with the Maryland Board of Physicians. This is appropriate even if you believe this was not necessarily due to malpractice. Complaints may cover incidents like over-medication or failure to medicate, prescribing the wrong medication or misdiagnosing a condition. Other issues include working under the influence of drugs or alcohol, altering medical records or sexual misconduct. In other words, if a doctor failed to exercise a reasonable standard of care, you have the grounds to file a complaint.
How do I file it?
You can file a complaint using the form available from the Maryland Board of Physicians website. While you may file an anonymous complaint, this may prevent your case from being thoroughly investigated. Also, even if you do not provide identifying information on the form or the envelope, the Board never guarantees anonymity.
Once you complete the form, mail it to the Intake Unit address. From there, it is filed and reviewed to assess whether it is appropriate for the Board to act against the doctor’s license.
Where do I file it?
You may file the complaint through the Maryland Board of Physicians. However, there are other avenues to consider.
For example, if your healthcare is covered by insurance, there is often a process for filing complaints against in-network doctors. In some cases, since the insurance company wants to keep you as a customer, the investigation process may be quicker. If the complaint is against a doctor who treats Medicare patients, that program offers its own complaint process.
While it may seem prudent to file your complaint multiple times to guarantee action, be careful. If there are inconsistencies between the different forms, that will work against you if you need to file a medical malpractice claim.
What happens next?
If your complaint is the only one filed against a doctor, the Board may not act. In many cases, they only file the complaints. However, if the complaints start to add up, they launch a formal investigation. This is especially true if most of the complaints are anonymous.
In the rare instance that the Board takes formal action, you may be asked to give a statement. They may also review medical records and call the doctor in for a hearing. Even if they take your complaint seriously and move forward, the Board can only take administrative action against a doctor. That includes reprimands and suspending licenses, but it does not include awarding damages for medical malpractice. The same is similar with insurance companies and Medicare; the worst that may happen is, the doctor is removed from the network.
That is why many cases need to be pushed beyond this complaint process. If there was a serious violation of the standard of care that resulted in death or injury, you should investigate the possibility of filing a medical malpractice claim. You may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, additional medical costs, and pain and suffering. If the malpractice resulted in a wrongful death, loss of long-term support and pain and suffering may result in significant damages.
If you are facing serious effects from a doctor’s negligence, your best course of action is to consult with a medical malpractice attorney. D’Amore Personal Injury Law, LLC offers extensive experience and a proven record when it comes to medical malpractice claims. Contact our office today to schedule a free no-risk consultation.