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Do medical malpractice insurance companies maintain a database that doctors can access that flags risky patients?

Nashville, TN |

A medical mistake was made in my treatment that was hidden from me by several doctors over four months. Even after it was revealed, I felt like I'd been blacklisted by the medical community. They seemed to treat me like radioactive, toxic waste, something to be avoided if at all possible. An untouchable. I still don't have a diagnosis for my symptoms.

A lawyer friend of mine (not personal injury) told me that lawyers have long suspected that medical malpractice companies maintain a database of patients deemed to a high risk of bringing a malpractice lawsuit. Because of my case history (medical mistake followed by coverup), I might have been flagged.

Does anyone know if such a database exists? Is there any concrete proof?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. An interesting question. Since I have always represented the injured party, I am not privy to what the malpractice insurance carriers have databases on. I do know the DRI ( defense research institute) provides the carriers with depositions and expert witness information. Everyone has public access to the courts, so if you have been a plaintiff or defendant in a court, that is easily found. I am interested in what the other attorneys answers are. It is an excellent question.


  2. I have worked on both sides of the fence in the medical malpractice area. I have not heard of medical malpractice insurers maintaining a database that any doctor would be able to access to determine whether a patient was a "problem patient." If you have filed suit, that will be public record, and the insurance companies would certainly have access to that fact. If no suit was filed, I do know that doctors, nurses and hospital administrators in the same community frequently talk amongst themselves about complaints, problems, and issues they might have had. Is that legal? Probably not. Does it happen? You bet. If you made a claim (either through the courts or through a hospital's internal peer review process) against a doctor that you allege made a mistake, you can be certain that many, if not most of the doctors in your community will be aware of that fact.


  3. I have handled medical malpractices cases for years. In my experience, there is no such "bad patient" database. Never even heard such a rumor. If you took 10 random doctors in a city, they probably have about 3-4 different insurance carrier between them. The carriers rarely if ever "talk" to each other.

    Now, it is true that there is database outside of D.C. that maintains a list of "bad" doctors. When a doctor settles a case over a certain amount or if the doctor has a verdict against hem in court, this goes into the databank. Private citizens should have access to this but they do not. It is accessible only to hospitals and insurance carriers. They use the data to increase physicians' insurance rates (if they get a bad record) and re-assess their privileges to practice at facilities, etc.

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