As a patient, you trust your doctor to listen carefully to your health complaints, make a proper and timely diagnosis, and prescribe appropriate treatment. It is every doctor’s duty to abide by the accepted standards of care in the medical industry at all times. Any breach of this duty, resulting in harm to a patient, is medical malpractice. If you believe you or a loved one has been the victim of a doctor’s negligence, here is how to go about filing a complaint in West Virginia.
File a Complaint with the West Virginia Board of Medicine
In West Virginia, the first step in filing a complaint against a doctor is to go through the West Virginia Board of Medicine. This Board is responsible for disciplining medical doctors, physician’s assistants, and podiatrists. Contact the Board’s Complaint Coordinator. If you have a complaint against a physician, download the complaint form found on the Board’s website. The form, called a “Complaint Questionnaire,” will ask for your contact information as well as that of the physician in question. You will describe your complaint in detail, and authorize the release of your records to the West Virginia Board of Medicine.
Find the Complaint Questionnaire for physician’s assistants and podiatrists on the website, under “Forms.” You can also contact the Board and request a Questionnaire via mail. Sign and date your completed Questionnaire, and mail it to the Board for Medical Doctor, Podiatrist, or Physician Assistant based on the subject of your complaint. Once the board receives your Questionnaire, the Board will send a copy of it to the person against whom you have made the complaint.
The individual then has the opportunity to respond to your complaint, at which point you can make a final reply. The Board’s Complaint Committee will then review the response and reply during its next scheduled meeting. The Board has prearranged meetings every other month of the year, starting in January. The Complaint Committee will recommend what action to take to the Board. If they do not find a violation, they will close the case. Upon finding a violation, the Committee may recommend revocation of the license to practice or another solution. The Board will notify you in writing of its final decision.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim in West Virginia
If you intend to file a claim for harms a doctor’s negligence caused you, it is not enough to feel dissatisfied with a doctor’s visit or with your health prognosis. An undesirable outcome does not constitute medical malpractice. To have a legal complaint against a physician, he or she must be guilty of professional negligence. Professional negligence is the failure to do what a reasonably skilled and competent doctor would in the same or similar circumstances. To prove medical malpractice, a plaintiff needs four elements:
- The doctor owed the plaintiff a duty of care at the time of the harm.
- The doctor breached his or her duty of care.
- The doctor’s breach caused the plaintiff’s harms.
- The plaintiff suffered specific damages as a result.
If you believe you have these four elements, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor in question. You may still file your complaint with the West Virginia Board of Medicine, but you should also speak to a West Virginia medical malpractice attorney. The law in our state requires expert testimony to establish and prove a medical malpractice case. A lawyer can help you with this requirement and with the complex claims process.
Don’t let an incompetent or reckless physician get away with professional negligence. Contact the WV Board of Medicine or a local medical malpractice attorney in your area for help with your official complaint against a doctor.