December 27, 1985

It May Be, but Don't Count on It

Author Affiliations

Medical College of Pennsylvania Philadelphia

JAMA. 1985;254(24):3424. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360240036023

To the Editor.—  Dr Mayhew's comment on the medicolegal jeopardy of the word "inadvertent" is timely.1 As a director of a physician-operated insurance company, I heartily agree we should exclude that word from our vocabulary. However, a recent decision by the Supreme Court of Oklahoma may be comforting to those "caught" using this word. It was that court's opinion that the entry in the operative note "inadvertent injury to the bladder" during a hysterectomy did not constitute an admission of negligence by the surgeon.2 Nevertheless, it is better to use the word "unintentional" when such events occur.