You Can File a Complaint About Your Doctor!

by John McKiggan

I get several calls a week from patients, of family members of patients, who are concerned about the care that they, or their family member, have received from their doctor or hospital.

In most cases, a careful investigation of the facts reveals that there are no grounds for a medical malpractice claim (in other words, the doctor or hospital wasn’t negligent) or that there may have been negligence in the patient’s care, but the cost of filing a lawsuit would be more than the potential recovery.

Explaining these facts to my clients is one of the more frustrating aspects of being a medical malpractice lawyer. I hate telling patients that I believe there was negligence in the care they received but that I don’t think they should pursue a compensation claim.

My colleague Ches Crosbie has posted about this problem at the Newfoundland Injury Law Blog. Ches is one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s finest medical malpractice lawyers. He points out that the decision to accept or reject a client who has a medical malpractice claim is always difficult.

College of Physicians and Surgeons

However, if you are not satisfied with the care that you or your family has received, you can file a complaint with the College of Physicians and Surgeons. Each province has a College of Physicians and Surgeons that is made up of a panel of doctors and lay persons (non doctors) who are responsible for hearing complaints about doctor’s conduct and administering discipline.

Discipline can range from something as simple as giving the doctor a warning to as serious as suspending the doctor’s license or taking away the doctor’s license to practice medicine in that province.

File a Complaint About the Doctor!

I encourage patients and family members who are concerned about a doctor’s conduct to contact the College of Physicians and Surgeons to express their concerns. Often the patients don’t follow through with the complaint. I think this is a real mistake.

There are certain doctors who I regularly receive calls about. However, if the patients don’t file a complaint with the College of Physicians and Surgeons, there is no way for the College to know about any potential concerns about the doctor’s conduct.

When a patient finally files a complaint the College may not take the complaint seriously because it is the first complaint received about a particular doctor. The Board members’ reasoning may be something like: “Well, we have only received one complaint about his/ her conduct. Lets give the doctor a warning to make sure it doesn’t happen again”.

On the other hand, if the College has received a half dozen or more complaints about the same doctor they will be far more likely to take the complaint seriously and more likely to administer more severe discipline to the doctor.

Ches gives some good advice about what type of information should be contained in a complaint to the College of Physicians and Surgeons. I would recommend anyone considering filing a complaint to take a look at his post.

If you are looking for a Nova Scotia Medical Malpractice Lawyer you can contact me for a free copy of my book: The Consumers Guide to Medical Malpractice Claims in Canada: Why 98% of potential medical malpractice victims never receive a penny in compensation.

If you believe you or a family member believe you may have been injured as a result of medical malpractice you can contact me through this blog, or call me toll free at 1-877-423-2050.

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