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October 10, 2001

Use of Prognostic Indexes for Determining Malpractice Liability

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorJody W.ZylkeMD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2001;286(14):1712-1713. doi:10.1001/jama.286.14.1709

To the Editor: Dr Walter and colleagues1 derived a prognostic index for 1-year mortality in older adults after hospitalization. The authors indicate that their instrument may have utility in the measurement of risk assessment as various institutions or caregivers are compared during quality measurement activities. In their Editorial, Drs Redelmeier and Lustig offer some constructive criticism and doubts.2 However, neither Walter et al nor Redelmeier and Lustig discussed whether such an instrument might be used to mitigate malpractice claims for wrongful death in frail elderly persons at high risk for death, regardless of the quality of care they received.