Aitken, Aitken & Cohn Salutes Clients
November 7, 2006
AITKEN * AITKEN * COHN PROUDLY SALUTES CLIENTS
WHO LEAD THE WAY IN CHARGE FOR CONSUMER
ACCESS TO PHYSICIAN DISCIPLINARY RECORDS
It was with great pride and a sense of frank responsibility and purpose that our law firm commenced representation of Scott and Kathi Broussard in their medical malpractice lawsuit after the tragic death of their newborn daughter in July 1999. Scott, a fire captain, and Kathi, a neonatal nurse, initially met with us at the behest of a pediatric neurosurgeon who was horrified by the damage inflicted on their newborn child by the doctor who delivered her. The Broussards were, of course, grief stricken over their loss — but monetary compensation was not their goal in seeking our representation. In just a short few moments during that first meeting, it became clear that our firm and the Broussards had a unity of interest — to assure that the tragedy that they experienced would happen to no one else.
Initially, there was discussion of how our firm would not only prosecute the medical malpractice claim aggressively — but also coordinate and work with the California Medical Board in its investigation of the defendant doctor. The case later became one of statewide and national significance when it was discovered how the defendant doctor had managed to conceal his disastrous record of prior medical malpractice suits to the detriment of the Broussards and so many others. The Broussards were first featured in an exposé article by the Orange County Register regarding the lack of information available to consumers regarding “bad apple” medical practitioners, and how slowly and leniently the California Medical Board moves when it comes to disciplining doctors. The article sparked a healthy statewide debate (and proposed legislation) regarding the need for more thorough disclosure of/access to the records of poorly performing doctors. The Broussards were flown to Sacramento to testify at legislative hearings regarding the proposed changes.
All along, the California Medical Association has been lobbying against the increased disclosure. It is unmistakably clear, however, that had the proposed disclosure rules been in place at the time of the birth of the Broussard’s daughter in July 1999, the Broussards would have never entrusted that doctor with the delivery of their most precious child.
When the story is told, and retold, the purpose and principle for which the Broussards (and our firm) stand is undisputedly brought to light. The Broussards were recently featured in a television news article by NBC’s Nightly News with Tom Brokaw. Richard Cohn of Aitken * Aitken * Cohn was interviewed and provided extensive advice and information to the show’s production team in putting together the piece. The show reached nationwide audiences.
As attorneys, our firm sees far too many medical negligence suits in need of our attention. But we are convinced beyond a doubt that consumers can be better protected from harm by increased disclosure of negative physician histories, and by a more proactive California Medical Board. It is with these principles in mind that we take great pride and privilege in having represented the Broussards — and we salute them for their courage in seeking to bring purpose to their child’s short life by taking a leadership role in bringing about these much needed changes.
Consumers are well advised to seek as much information about a prospective physician as possible. Ask about background and training. Inquire as to how many previous times your doctor has performed a proposed procedure or surgery. Question other physicians about a proposed doctor’s reputation. You can also obtain the very limited information available through the California Medical Board — which will hopefully be soon improved due to efforts of people such as the Broussards. Additionally, the Orange County Register has compiled a large data base, believed to be the first of its kind, with extensive details regarding accusations and disciplinary actions against Orange County doctors — which can be found at www.ocregister.com. As always, in the event of an unfortunate incident involving medical malpractice, we stand ready to advise, investigate and serve the needs of any aggrieved victim.