Attorney Andrew Meyer Discusses the Lack of Disciplining Bad Doctors in Massachusetts
Attorney Andrew Meyer, who is featured in the recent Boston Magazine article which exposes a lack of physician discipline in Massachusetts, was a guest on "The Take" with Sue O'Connell on NBC10 Boston on June 24, 2019.
When Patients Are Victims of Medical Mistakes
NECN - NBC10 Boston — June 24, 2019 — A recent Boston Magazine report by Michael Damiano claims local physicians get away with practicing bad medicine. Boston's leading medical malpractice attorney Andrew C. Meyer, Jr. sat down with Sue O'Connell to discuss the worrisome trend.
Watch video of the interview above.
A transcript of the segment follows.
MS. O’CONNELL: The Boston area is known for its high medical care, but, of course, things go wrong for patients and doctors. So, what happens when doctors make repeated mistakes with patients? What’s the course of punishment? This is the headline in Boston Magazine. The name of the article is, “The Secret Truth About Boston Doctors,” an article written by Michael Damiano, and one of the people quoted in the article joins me.
Drew Meyer is the founding partner of Lubin & Meyer, a medical malpractice plaintiffs law firm. Welcome. Thanks for coming in.
ATTY. MEYER: Good to be here, Sue.
MS. O’CONNELL: So in a lot of jobs, you make terrible mistakes and you immediately get fired or disciplined. But what’s the story here in Boston Magazine specifically about the patient, Charles Antonio?
ATTY. MEYER: Well, Charles, one of our clients, as well as any other patient who’s been malpracticed or treated poorly by his physician, has very little remedy in the state of Massachusetts. He has a real problem getting recompense for what happened to him, and he has a very difficult time recognizing any type of remedy which is going to make sure the doctor doesn’t do this again to other patients.
MS. O’CONNELL: What happened to Charles Antonio?
ATTY. MEYER: Charles was operated on by a doctor who caused him major physical problems, and as a result he had to undergo emergency surgery at another Boston hospital. And then what he needed to do was come to us to get some answers because the Board of Registration of Medicine, which is the licensing authority in Massachusetts, was doing very little to oversee and correct the problem that Charles ran into and the negligence that had occurred.
MS. O’CONNELL: The startling part here, I mean, there’s people that make mistakes, things go wrong with surgeries, but this is a doctor who has repeatedly had issues, but there seems to have been no remedy, no fixing it, that he continues to practice, and, in fact, is on the Board, right?
ATTY. MEYER: Correct. The doctor who treated Charles is not only on the Board of Registration in Medicine, but he sits in judgment of other doctors who have had actions brought against them.
MS. O’CONNELL: So how is that okay? If there’s a malpractice suit brought against you, shouldn’t you immediately be taken off the Board in order to be objective?
ATTY. MEYER: This particular doctor was put on the Board while the case was pending against him.
MS. O’CONNELL: Who oversees the Board?
ATTY. MEYER: Ultimately, it’s the Governor and the Department of Health and Human Services are putting these people on the Board, and the Board, unfortunately, for the most part, not in total, but for the most part is controlled by the Mass. Medical Society. They put the people they want on the Board. They protect the doctors in Massachusetts, and there’s very little protection for the patients, having in mind that preventable medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States and in Massachusetts.
MS. O’CONNELL: Well, one of the alarming terms in the article, and I think you may have said it, was calling some of these doctors who make mistakes over and over again “frequent flyers.”
ATTY. MEYER: Correct.
MS. O’CONNELL: That you as a law firm often find yourself having a patient who feels that they’ve been a victim of malpractice and seeing the same doctors’ names pop up.
ATTY. MEYER: Oh, we see the same names on a regular basis. We see the same hospitals show up time and time again with the same problems, and one of the major issues is there’s no corrective action being taken. There’s much more of a "circle the wagons" mentality to protect the reputation — the insurance company is trying to protect their own financial interest, and there’s no effort to expose the mistakes, make changes, change policies and procedures to protect patients.
MS. O’CONNELL: All right. So I guarantee somebody is watching this at home right now who has surgery scheduled for tomorrow or a procedure scheduled sometime in the near future. What should they know and what can they do to protect themselves?
ATTY. MEYER: Well, that’s a great question. There’s very little in Massachusetts you can do to protect yourself, other than get a very good recommendation. In Massachusetts you can find out more about your refrigerator or your toaster than you can about your doctor. You can’t find out the history of your doctor. You’d have to really know your way through the court system to find out how many cases have been filed against a doctor.
MS. O’CONNELL: So there’s no database that they can check to see how often their surgeon may have been charged with malpractice or had a malpractice suit?
ATTY. MEYER: There is a physician profile which you can get on the Board of Registration of Medicine, but it’s very sketchy, it doesn’t show up, and it’s only sometimes effective in identifying whether there have been claims or settlements against a particular doctor. It’s not well publicized. People don’t know about it. And the information is quite limited.
MS. O’CONNELL: Is there anything folks can do? Should they contact their lawmakers, talk about ways that they can get more information? Or should we talk about this oversight Board?
ATTY. MEYER: The Board of Registration is a licensing authority, and it should really be run more by consumers who understand what bad medicine is about rather than doctors — and the doctor we’re talking about, who actually has a case or cases pending against them or a case pending against him is sitting in judgment of other doctors and letting bad doctors with bad records come in and practice in Massachusetts.
MS. O’CONNELL: All right, Drew Meyer. Thanks for coming in. Good to meet you. We direct folks to the Boston Magazine article.
To read the full article on dangerous doctors, click on the headline below to the Boston Magazine website:
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