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May 12, 2010

Public Health Emergencies and Legal Standards of Care

JAMA. 2010;303(18):1811-1812. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.543

To the Editor: In their Commentary, Mr Hodge and Ms Courtney1 proffered a public health legal standard of care during emergencies. This is problematic for 2 reasons. First, it is unclear what principles ought to underlie a determination of fair treatment in accordance with communal or public health interests. Second, a physician who does not conform to this nonmedically indicated standard of care may arguably be liable for medical malpractice.

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