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September 1971

Medical Jurisprudence.

Author Affiliations

San Francisco

Am J Dis Child. 1971;122(3):276. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1971.02110030134029

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Pediatricians often regard themselves as relatively immune to suits for alleged malpractice, perhaps because their professional liability insurance is the lowest among the specialties. However, this situation is changing! Their responsibility and liability begins at the infant's birth and continues through his 21st year. For adult patients, professional liability is terminated after a shorter period by the Statute of Limitations.

The pediatrician was formerly not held responsible for a neonatal death or for the consequence of disturbances of the newborn which demand diagnostic acumen and the immediate performance of procedures in the management of erythroblastosis, respiratory distress, or infection. Now, families, friends, lawyers, judges, and juries regard these disasters as someone's fault and are prone to look upon the hopeless child and his parents with great sympathy and deserving of some recompense, even when the charge of malpractice is a most nebulous matter. It is not beyond surmise that some

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