Just 4 months after going live, a Web site tracking litigious patients, plaintiffs' attorneys, and expert witnesses has shut down. Dallas-area radiologist John Shannon Jones, MD, created DoctorsKnow.Us to deter frivolous lawsuits, according to The Wall Street Journal (3/5/04). Physicians claim that the current litigious environment has contributed to the dramatic rise in medical malpractice premiums that have forced some physicians to abandon high-risk procedures or specialties.
While physicians claim that the Web site helped level the playing field, it came under fire from patients and plaintiffs' attorneys. They claim the site could be used to deny care to those who had filed lawsuits in the past or intimidate patients from filing legitimate claims.
DoctorsKnow.Us contained a database of patients who had filed medical malpractice, personal injury, and product liability lawsuits, as well as plaintiffs attorneys and expert witnesses, according to The Examiner (3/11-17/04), a newspaper covering Southeast Texas. The database did not provide the outcome of the claims, nor indicate whether the claims had merit or were frivolous. For a monthly fee, physicians, health-care workers, clinics, HMOs, hospitals, and risk managers could have searched the database and added names.
Due to the controversy, the site ceased operations on March 9.