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Friday, February 2, 2018

Confidential deals can obscure sexual misconduct allegations against doctors

Jayne O'Donnell
Originally published January 5, 2018

Here are two excerpts:

Hospitals will often take over doctors' liability in confidential settlements, which Washington plaintiffs' attorney Patrick Malone calls a "frequent dodge" to keep medical negligence claims out of the National Practitioners Data Bank. Before they hire doctors, hospitals check the data bank, which also includes disciplinary actions by hospitals, medical societies and boards, which also have access to it.

Duncan's case, however, was a "miscellaneous tort claim," filed after Ohio's one-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims had passed.

That's just one of the many laws working in the favor of the Cleveland Clinic and the health care industry in Ohio. Plaintiff lawyer Michael Shroge, a former Cleveland Clinic associate general counsel, says major health care systems are "very often more interested in protecting their brand than protecting the health of patients."


Critics of settlement deals' gag clauses say they compromise patients' health and safety and are unethical.

Confidential settlements are particularly problematic when it comes to health care, as "we take off our clothes in front of doctors," said Malone, who specializes in medical malpractice cases. "For a doctor to violate that in a sexual way is the ultimate wrong," he said, adding that he only agrees to confidential settlements if his client insists and only of the settlement amount.

The information is here.