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September 18, 2002

Malpractice Risk and Patient Complaints—Reply

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2002;288(11):1353-1354. doi:10.1001/jama.288.11.1350

In Reply: Dr Glazer's comments reinforce my belief that meaningful liability reform requires a collective deep breath from the medical profession. The emotion that malpractice litigation generates in physicians is understandable, but the profession cannot take refuge in outdated beliefs that errors are rare or patients ignorant.

Hickson et al1 found that physicians who provoke patient complaints also tend to attract malpractice suits. In my Editorial, I suggested that this result should make physicians more rather than less willing to include patients in efforts to improve quality and safety. Contrary to Glazer's assertion, I do not think the profession's response to the study by Hickson et al should be merely to fulfill patients' wishes.

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