Confidentiality in medical malpractice suits is an issue which is receiving increased scrutiny. Especially where the appropriate authorities are kept in the dark.
As reported by the Seattle TImes, two lawsuits against a Seattle-area physician (Dr. James H. Greene) illustrate the current concern. Significant settlements were paid by the doctor’s employer after he was accused of negligence. However, one of the cases was sealed by a court and unknown to regulators when the doctor was investigated after discliplinary charges were filed.
As noted in the article, it is common for the defense to insist on confidentiality clauses and sealed files in settling medical malpractice cases. Unfortunately, claimants are rarely in a position to oppose such requirements. Increasing scrutiny from the media, the courts and disciplinary authorities may change the current landscape.