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Will the Health Department Automatically Launch an Investigation when You File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Mar 30, 2015 | Medical Malpractice

If you file a case against a doctor for medical practice in the state of New York, then does the New York State Department of Health automatically begin an investigation against this doctor?

No Automatic Investigation by the Health Department

When you instigate a medical malpractice lawsuit seeking compensation for the harms and losses that you have suffered, because of a doctor’s carelessness or because of a doctor’s violation of basic standards of medical care, then does that automatically trigger an investigation by the NYSDH?

The answer is that it does not. In order for the health department to investigate there has to be a complaint, generated either by you the injured victim, or by somebody else. Otherwise, the health department is not going to typically go ahead and investigate a matter. The fact that you have chosen to bring a lawsuit against a doctor or hospital that you believe did something improper and caused you harm, then does not automatically trigger an investigation.

A lawsuit is a method by which you are trying to obtain compensation for the harms and losses you have suffered because of a doctor’s carelessness. On the other hand, New York State Department of Health has a different agenda. Their purpose of investigating a complaint about a doctor or hospital is to try to ensure that this type of problem does not happen again, assuming that the doctor is responsible for the harms, and injuries that he caused.

The Health Department has a Different Mission

Hence, the goal of the health department is a little bit different. A lawsuit seeks to obtain compensation; whereas the NYSDH does really two things. They want to ensure this type of activity or conduct does not happen again. In some instances, the department will go ahead and punish the doctor or restrict the doctor from practicing until he has been remediated or the problem has been resolved. In very rare instances, the health department will actually revoke the doctor’s license.

Therefore, to answer the question, if you go ahead with the medical malpractice lawsuit to seek compensation for the harms and injuries you suffered because of a doctor’s carelessness, that is not going to trigger an automatic investigation by the New York State Department of Health. Only when a complaint has been formally registered will the department will start investigation and march down the required action avenue.

A Rare Occurrence

You might file a medical malpractice lawsuit but if you want the NYSHD to initiate an investigation, you will also have to file a complaint with them. However, you might only want to do this when you are truly concerned that many other people are likely to be injured by the doctor or that hospital.

If the doctor or hospital has been providing stellar service, and they have slipped up in your particular case, you might want to file a medical malpractice lawsuit and seek compensation for your injuries rather than waste time filing a complaint with the health department.