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December 1985

Shall We Kill All the Lawyers?

Arch Ophthalmol. 1985;103(12):1791. doi:10.1001/archopht.1985.01050120025011

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When Shakespeare, in The Second Part of Henry the Sixth, said, "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers," he was stating one of the prime requisites for the rebellion and eventual anarchy. Unfortunately, due to the present malpractice climate throughout the United States, many physicians may wish to carry out the words of Shakespeare, without fully understanding the consequences.

The legal system in our country is based on the adversary system. The attorney for each side seeks to promote the "facts" that support his or her client's point of view, while attempting to refute those of the opposing party. Medicine, on the contrary, attempts to put together all the "facts," arrive at the diagnosis, and institute proper treatment of the patient's illness. It is this different approach to the problem that has resulted in the mutual distrust and even downright animosity that exist today between the two

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