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Article
December 4, 1954

MALPRACTICE, AN OCCUPATIONAL HAZARD

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles

Professor of Legal Medicine, College of Medical Evangelists; Professor of Forensic Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Southern California.

JAMA. 1954;156(14):1317-1318. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.02950140017006
Abstract

The likelihood of being sued for malpractice is now so great that the practicing physician must recognize that it constitutes a definite occupational hazard. The incidence of malpractice claims increased tenfold during one decade, the 1930's, and the situation continues to grow worse. So frequent are these claims today that, in some localities, any patient with a less than perfect end-result is a potential malpractice claimant. If physicians were always able to obtain perfect results there would, of course, be no malpractice actions. But deaths, untoward and unexpected results, continuing disabilities, and complications occur and will continue to occur. There is always a chance that without negligence on the part of anybody some unfortunate result, sometimes fatal, will happen.

The physician enjoys unique privileges and opportunities; on the other hand, he is burdened with special responsibilities and obligations. It is in his personal concern for his patient that the physician

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