When physician-attorney Hubert Winston Smith published a six-part series
called “Legal Responsibility for Medical Malpractice” in JAMA 63 years ago, he devoted the first article to the
development of the common law, one article each to the four elements (duty
to the patient, negligence, proximate cause, and damages) that must be proven
in order to demonstrate malpractice, and one to the system for dealing with
malpractice. He discussed numerous legal precedents at length, but not insurance.
The standard of care being what an ordinary, competent physician would do
under the circumstances, Smith did not dwell on how to avoid liability.
Gold JA. Malpractice. JAMA. 2005;293(11):1393–1397. doi:10.1001/jama.293.11.1393-a
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