Why is Bangor, Maine, Such a Hotbed of Medical Malpractice Cases?
Over the past decade, we’ve handled hundreds of malpractice cases. Sadly, a trend has emerged. We see a disproportionate number of medical malpractice cases in Bangor. This is particularly striking given that there is a higher population density and more medical providers in the Greater Portland area.
This, of course, is not to say that there are not caring, talented doctors in Bangor. Bangor serves as the hub for medical care for Northern Maine, meaning that from Fort Kent to Eastport and everywhere in between, patients who require a higher level of care than their local doctor can provide often make their way to Bangor. Thus, Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor is charged with caring for these challenging and complex patients.
However, even with that, it is hard to explain why such a disproportionate number of malpractice cases are coming out of Bangor. Here is the best explanation we have for why we see so many medical malpractice cases in Bangor.
1. Difficulty Attracting High-Quality Providers
It seems self-evident that it is more difficult to attract the best doctors, nurses, and other highly trained medical providers to a more rural, remote location, such as Bangor, Maine. This is not a knock against Bangor, which is a great city and getting better every day, but graduates of Harvard Medical School are more likely to seek careers in well-established urban areas or prestigious teaching and research hospitals than in the gateway to the Northern Maine Woods.
2. Heavy Reliance on Locum Tenens Doctors and Other Transient Providers
This goes with the first point. Over the years, we have noticed that in many of the malpractice cases we have involving Bangor, at least some of the medical providers are not long-term, full-time staff. Rather, it is common for doctors providing care to patients in Bangor to be locum tenens doctors, or medicine’s version of “temp workers.” Sometimes these locum tenens providers are highly qualified medical professionals who use short-term jobs as an opportunity to travel and experience different parts of the country (or world). Other times, however, they are providers who have had a difficult time pinning down a long-term position. Some providers bounce around from place to place without being anywhere long enough for people to really assess the quality (or lack of quality) of their work. Sometimes these providers have committed malpractice or gotten into trouble elsewhere.
3. Use of Non-Board-Certified Physicians
Most medical subspecialties have board examinations, which doctors take after a short time in practice to establish themselves as well-qualified and knowledgeable in their area of specialty. When a doctor passes the board examination, they become “board certified.” Some hospitals will not permit doctors to join their medical staff or to perform certain procedures without being board certified. However, in several Bangor cases, we have seen hospitals allowing doctors to perform complex procedures despite lack of board certification.
4. Access to Advanced Imaging
We have litigated several cases involving Bangor hospitals where a delay in obtaining advanced imaging such as an MRI study led to catastrophic medical harm. Although we do not have any statistics comparing the time to perform imaging in Bangor versus greater Portland, there has been a striking discrepancy in the cases we have seen out of Bangor where delay in imaging is a critical factor.
5. Access to Doctors
Just as we have seen a delay in imaging, we have seen a disproportionate number of cases coming out of Bangor that involve a delay in response by doctors. Although hospitals like EMMC purport to offer 24-hour access to doctors and specialists, we have handled several cases where medical care is delayed during the overnight hours.
Trust Your Medical Malpractice Case to an Attorney in Bangor, Maine
It is important for us to point out that we have consulted no statistics or data comparing the quality of medical care or patient outcomes in Bangor and Portland. The observations above are therefore purely anecdotal based upon our own personal experience reviewing and litigating medical malpractice cases. However, with that caveat, we have seen an unmistakable pattern of a disproportionate number of malpractice cases arising in Bangor as compared with the Portland area.
If you need legal guidance with a Bangor medical malpractice case, do not hesitate to contact our firm. Our lawyers have extensive experience with handling cases of this nature, and will pursue every avenue to secure a favorable outcome for you. Call today to get started.