Doctor with a Legal Settlement - Is This a Red Flag?

On the state's medical license verification site it lists information on the surgeon (board certified, where he went to school, publications etc) It also lists disciplinary action. Even though it lists no violations or offenses etc it does however list a settlement amount and the date. Is this a red flag that i shouldnt go with this surgeon? Everything else about the doctor seems great such a great reviews.

Doctor Answers 2

Lawsuits and plastic surgery

That depends on a lot of things. In the US patients can claim malpractice and sue for anything including a result that may be good but unexpected. The doctor may choose to settle the case rather than go to trial or arbitration for one or more reasons. An employee may have accidentally injured the patient. The suit could be frivolous and the patient will go away for a settlement less than the cost of litigation. The doctor may have done nothing wrong but there is a deficiency in the medical record that makes the case indefensible. Red flags would be a large number of settlements or suits in a short period of time or settlements for very large amounts of money.

The main problem in this country is frivolous lawsuits that increase the cost of care for everyone else. Somewhere in the range of 80% of malpractice cases in this country are lost by the patient plaintiffs. If only the cases with merit went forward the rest of us would be paying 20 to 30% less for our healthcare across the board including cosmetic surgery.

My response to your question/post does not represent formal medical advice or constitute a doctor patient relationship. You need to consult with i.e. personally see a board certified plastic surgeon in order to receive a formal evaluation and develop a doctor patient relationship.

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Legal Settlement: Is This a Red Flag?

This is a very good question, and the answer is possibly yes, possibly no.  To state the obvious, we live in a rather litigious society, making the possibility of a malpractice lawsuit toward a Physician more of a probability than a possibility.  Some lawsuits are truly legitimate, but many are not.  From a medical malpractice insurer's standpoint, bringing a case to trial costs in excess of $100,000 and also carries the risk of losing a judgment. Therefore, many insurance companies will look at a $50,000 settlement as the cost of doing business, regardless of the nature of a  Physician's actions.  Therefore, I would not consider the information you have found to be exclusionary criteria.  I would rely more on word of mouth, the professionalism of the staff, the quality of the explanations the Surgeon has given you, and your impression of actual cases performed by the Surgeon to guide you.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.