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March 30, 1963

Medical Lessons from Malpractice Cases

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles

JAMA. 1963;183(13):1073-1077. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03700130041009

One-thousand current malpractice cases covering the entire field of medicine were critically reviewed to determine the presence and type, if any, of medical and surgical problems which may add to the burdens of a successful defense. This retrospective analysis parallels courtroom evaluation, since both are colored by the prejudice of hindsight. Therefore, for the benefit of doctor and patient, it is hoped that the conclusions presented will engender increased foresight and awareness of potential pitfalls in practice. Of particular interest is the observation concerning complications of therapy: The fact that such complications occurred was often of less importance than their identification and treatment by the attending physicians.