What You Don't Know About Your Doctor Could Hurt You

Rachel Rabkin Peachman | Consumer Reports | March 29, 2016

Thousands of doctors across the U.S. are on medical probation for reasons including drug abuse, sexual misconduct, and making careless—sometimes deadly—mistakes. But they're still out there practicing. And good luck figuring out who they are. The state medical board's report on Leonard Kurian, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Southern California, tells in stark clinical detail what it says happened to several patients in his care. And it's not easy to read.

The report describes the time Kurian surgically removed the wrong ovary from a 37-year-old woman, a mistake the patient only learned about weeks later when, still in pain, she went for more tests. The good ovary was missing, and the cystic one was still inside her. Kurian's record gets worse from there. The report makes the case of how his errors of medical knowledge, judgment, protocol, and attentiveness contributed to the deaths of two patients. Both were young mothers who had recently given birth to healthy babies. You might think a doctor with that type of record would be barred from practicing medicine, but that didn't happen in this case.

Thousands of working physicians are currently being disciplined by their respective state medical boards for findings that patients may want to know about–things such as sexual misconduct, their own addiction problems, overprescribing controlled substances, and all sorts of other documented examples of unprofessional or dangerous doctoring...