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August 18, 1978

The Influence of Litigation on Medical Practice

Author Affiliations

Santa Cruz, Calif

JAMA. 1978;240(7):685-686. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290070087032

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Comes now the proceedings of a conference held in London in 1977 in which 20 English and American participants explored medicolegal problems—chiefly malpractice—common to the two nations. English medicine in a limited sense confronts the same problem that faces American physicians and hospitals. It is interesting, nevertheless, to learn the reasons for the relative immunity of the English from malpractice claims.

The text has five main sections: history, major current problems, specific high-risk clinical areas, education and training, and the future. In the last-named area, Professor Charles Fried gives us a perceptive overview of the situation in the United States, with some clues as to a workable way ahead. He includes an excellent general outline of the physician's duty to his patient.

The weakest points in the book are the summations of general discussions by participants, which took place at the end of each session. Such give-and-take summaries are better