[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
February 7, 1986

Malpractice: Managing Your Defense

Author Affiliations

Santa Fe, NM

JAMA. 1986;255(5):660-661. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370050102033

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


In this country, individuals are invariably held accountable for their actions or inactions. To professionals, accountability can mean malpractice. Malpractice engenders fear. Malpractice is a personal attack on one's professional competence. The cost of malpractice litigation is borne by the physician, by insurance premiums (if insured), and by society through a higher cost for medical services. But also, malpractice is a means whereby incompetent physicians are forced to leave the profession, thereby protecting society as a whole.

With the exponential increase in medical malpractice litigation, it is imperative that physicians confront the reality of being sued. Whether the lawsuit is groundless or based on reason, physician defendants will become acquainted with and subject to the legal system.

The authors of Malpractice: Managing Your Defense explain in good English the basics of malpractice litigation from the perspective of defending the physician. Although this slant might be helpful, it is slightly unfair.