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Jeanne Bouillon nearly bled to death after a gynecological procedure went awry. When she found out that the doctor who had performed the procedure had been sued several times to the tune of more than $700,000, she started fighting in Illinois and in Washington D.C. for better disclosure laws that would allow patients to see a physician’s malpractice and disciplinary history. One piece of legislation she fought for, the Patient Right-to-Know Act, eventually made its way into law in 2005.

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Jeanne Bouillon has a tenacity that most patients lack. When you are sick, you don't feel like fighting. And when you have been injured by a physician, you can feel deeply violated and want to just cover your head and hide.

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Medical malpractice cases can dredge up some frightening examples of human behavior.

Few examples could be uglier than the Ku Klux Klan.

Dr. Joseph Dickstein, a family doctor in Chicago, had three patients complain that they suffered complications following surgical procedures he performed. The allegations were serious enough that Dickstein lost his hospital privileges.

Perhaps he was feeling desperate then when he was sued by Karla Morgan.

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When the Illinois State Medical Society was on the verge of persuading the Illinois General Assembly to cap non-economic malpractice damages at $500,000, state Rep. Mary Flowers decided that it might be a good time to ask for a few concessions for patients.

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Even before the Supreme Court of Illinois pulled the rug out from under a patient safety law that allowed consumers to review malpractice histories for doctors, state Rep. Mary Flowers was looking for a way to repair the damage.

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Cash-only clinics in immigrant communities can be revolving doors. One shady provider gets shoved out, and another steps right in.

When Dr. Andrew Rutland was allowed to return to medicine in 2007 after serving five years of probation for Medical Board of California charges related to the deaths of two babies, he was prevented from practicing alone. The Oct. 25, 2007 order by the medical board is clear: "Petitioner is prohibited from engaging in the solo practice of medicine."

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The Anaheim obstetrician accused in a patient’s death was part of a community of doctors on the fringe who had escaped the stigma of their pasts by treating immigrants.

Dr. Andrew Rutland was charged by the Medical Board of California in December of negligence after the death of a Chinese immigrant, Ying Chen, at a San Gabriel clinic. Rutland had been trying to give her an abortion, the board said, when he administered a fatal dose of lidocaine, an anesthetic.



The wave of attacks against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders has been emotionally gutting for these communities. In our next webinar, we’ll examine the impact of the crisis on the mental health of Asian Americans, especially the women who are often targeted. Join us for a deep discussion to inform your coverage of the crisis and broader reporting on AAPI communities. Sign-up here!

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Are you passionate about helping journalists understand and illuminate the social factors that contribute to health and health disparities at a time when COVID-19 has highlighted the costs of such inequities? Looking to play a big role in shaping journalism today in the United States? The USC Center for Health Journalism seeks an enterprising and experienced journalism leader for our new position of “Manager of Projects.” 



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