Getting regular exercise by bicycling to your farmers market should reduce your need for hospital visits, but if you take a bad spill on your bike like L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa recently did, you would expect that the doctor who treats you will be sober. Well, doctors aren’t immune to alcohol and drug abuse, and a new Google map lets you quickly spot these doctors behaving badly.
View Doctors Behaving Badly in a larger map
The map is a project of William Heisel, contributing editor to Reporting on Health, a project of the USC Annenberg/California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships program. This year, Heisel started looking at agencies that monitor doctors — to find that “In most states, detailed information about a doctor’s disciplinary, criminal or malpractice histories is either nonexistent or heavily redacted.” (via Shots)
In Heisel’s opinion, part of the problem is bad website design that makes it difficult for people to find information about doctors — even the worst doctors. He looked at state medical boards — and their attendant websites — in alphabetical order, citing case examples from each state on Reporting on Health’s blog. So far, he’s gotten to Kansas — which means 17 examples have been blogged about and plotted on the Google map.
In California, the example is one Dr. Amanda Waugh in Irvine, Calif., who got pulled over, arrested on a DUI charge, booked, and released — and then went to work her shift at the La Palma Intercommunity Hospital’s emergency room legally drunk.
Heisel’s Google-mapped posts are fascinating to read, if rather scary. The journalist says that the medical board in my state of California actually “leads all other agencies in the way it provides information to the public in one easy-to-use and largely complete database” — which led me to try searching the records of all the doctors I’ve seen in the last decade or so. Luckily, none of them had drunk charges or dungeons. How about your doctor?