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July 22, 1974

Defensive Medicine

Author Affiliations

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

JAMA. 1974;229(4):393. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230420015013

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To the Editor.—  I should like to heartily endorse the comments of Richard P. Bergen in his "Defensive Medicine is Good Medicine" (228:1188, 1974).It is unfortunate, but perhaps understandable, that the resentment and hostility generated among physicians by the ever-increasing number of medical malpractice actions should have resulted in the widely accepted belief that physicians must practice defensive medicine if they are to keep themselves immune from allegations of professional negligence, and that such defensive medicine is bad medical practice.Of course, it is quite judicious from a medicolegal standpoint for physicians to be aware of the malpractice threat as they pursue their professional activities. This may result in the ordering of certain diagnostic tests and procedures that the physician might not have employed previously in cases of a similar nature. Does this mean that the physician is now practicing defensive medicine, and that any increased costs in the