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Book and Media Reviews
April 12, 2006


Author Affiliations

Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA.

JAMA. 2006;295(14):1709-1714. doi:10.1001/jama.295.14.1709

This is a book with a mission, by an author with a point of view. In a very readable way Tom Baker sets up, then knocks down, what he terms the “medical malpractice myth,” a partisan campaign promoted by organized medicine, health insurers, businesses, and the Bush Administration. Its components, he says, are these:

Doctors' insurance premiums are skyrocketing. Doctors are leaving their practices. Patients cannot find obstetricians. Billions are wasted on defensive medicine. Doctors are angry and becoming politically active. All of this is happening because patients, egged on by greedy lawyers, sue doctors at the drop of a hat. Juries issue irrational awards requiring doctors to pay large ransoms to be released from the system. Liability is a roulette game and a sick joke; and honest people in the end always lose.

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