February 23rd, 2010
02:11 PM ET

Before you send your child to the doctor

By Sabriya Rice
CNN Medical News Producer

Prosecutors announced Monday that a grand jury has indicted Delaware pediatrician, Dr. Earl Bradley on 471 felony counts in the alleged sexual abuse of his patients. Bradley has practiced in Lewes, Delaware, for more than 10 years, and is now facing charges which include, rape, sexual exploitation, endangering child welfare and assault.

How could this happen? Most physicians don't get involved in criminal activities, however sometimes a bad apple can fall through. According to the Federation of State Medical Boards, approximately two hundred of the 735,000 actively licensed doctors in the United States have been found guilty of criminal acts.

In many cases they continue to practice; in some states a license can't be revoked until a witness has testified and the physician is found guilty of the charges. Patients have no way of knowing unless they do their own research.

Parents, here are some things you can do:

1) Find out if your pediatrician has a criminal past:
To find out whether your doctor has been disciplined by a state medical board, here's a state-by-state directory of medical boards.

2) Check your pediatrician's national profile:
Some states explain why a doctor has been disciplined while others don’t, so just searching in your state might not reveal a doctor's history of problems elsewhere. You can also get a national profile on your doctor for just under $10 by searching on the Federation of State Medical Boards website.

3) Get a good recommendation
You can view the American Academy of Pediatrics’ list of recommended pediatricians on their website.

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.