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June 16, 1989

Jury of My Peers: A Surgeon's Encounter With the Malpractice Crisis

Author Affiliations

Napa, Calif

Napa, Calif

JAMA. 1989;261(23):3480. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420230134045

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


This well-written chronicle of the author's arduous personal experience with a malpractice trial, while serving a minor role as emotional catharsis, is primarily a polemic for removal of medical malpractice questions from decisional solution by our jury system.

The narrative can be conveniently divided into three parts. The book begins with a brief description of the emotional and psychological suffering of three of the author's acquaintances, who even after acquittal of unjust charges of medical malpractice, continued to agonize over potential future litigational trauma that might occur owing to their high-risk practices, and eventually ceased part or all of their medical practice. Elsewhere the author cites alarming figures on the serious loss to society by the refusal of many of our best practitioners to work in this malignantly litigational atmosphere, with those remaining being forced paradoxically to increase the cost of medical care by unnecessary procedures to avoid unjust malpractice