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February 6, 1978

Lawsuits for Malpractice

Author Affiliations

Brookdale Hospital Medical Center Downstate Medical Center Brooklyn, NY

JAMA. 1978;239(6):494. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280330030004

To the Editor.—  In his article on malpractice (238:861-863, 1977), James M. Vaccarino, JD, is guilty of oversimplification. He lists three main causes of frivolous malpractice suits: poor physician-patient relationship, poor results, and the cost of medical care. He totally ignores the huge rewards of successful malpractice suits for the legal profession; these rewards, combined with the absence of any loss in case the patient loses in court, makes the initiation of a malpractice action an investment without risk for lawyer and patient alike. Nor does Mr Vaccarino mention the jury system that makes a malpractice suit a legal battle where the medical facts are of secondary importance.Mr Vaccarino states, "The most significant contributive factor to frivolous claims is the poor relationship with the provider," that is, the physician-patient relationship. The attitude of the patient is just as important as that of the physician in establishing a good physician-patient