Doctors: If you’re not careful, the public will know – New Bill Passed

New York City, New York ( – New York Governor David A. Paterson is extremely happy because on August 7, 2008, his bill was made into a law. The bill contains the push for physicians who are charged with misconduct or malpractice to be publicly identified and recognized. The new law will expand the state’s ability to monitor private medical offices, which in turn, will allow for more freedom for health authorities to communicate with the public and ensure appropriate physician discipline. Also, in the past, the Medical Society of New York opposed using the names of doctors and their malpractice histories for investigations, but this will not be the case any longer. With the law in effect, the state can secure the medical records of those doctors suspected due to alcohol or drug abuse. Additionally, the Health Department will have a greater power, such as: stopping dangerous practices without a hearing, and requiring office-based surgeons to report transmissions of blood-borne diseases.

The main push for this law came from a Doctor Finkelstein, who had been accused by the Department of Health for reusing syringes and infecting at least one patient in 2004; sources state that Finkelstein also failed to alert the general public until November. Recently, a man from Syosset claimed he contracted hepatitis C in Finkelstein’s office, which is mostly likely the case, seeming that Finkelstein has settled a state record of 11 malpractice lawsuits within ten years.

It is imperative that laws such as this are supported. There are too many people becoming infected with disease and even dying at the hands of careless physicians. In 1999, the Institute of Medicine concluded that medical errors caused up to 98,000 deaths annually and should be considered a national epidemic. A 2006 follow-up to the 1999 Institute of Medicine of the National Academies study found that medication errors are among the most common medical mistakes, harming at least 1.5 million people every year. Laws such as the one recently passed by Governor Paterson will only help these numbers to decrease.

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