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May 15, 1897


JAMA. 1897;XXVIII(20):950-951. doi:10.1001/jama.1897.02440200040010

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Dr. Thomas R. Evans of Charleston, West Virginia, states in a recent number of the Medical Record that the statutes of West Virginia are in a decidedly antique condition as regards malpractice suit. According to Dr. Evans any physician or surgeon who "resorts to any expedient whatever," may be mulcted in heavy damages in case his patient dies; and he is not allowed to testify in his own behalf, nor can any other person testify for him. Finally, there is no stated time when such a suit can be outlawed. Dr. Evans declares that one medical man was recently under this enactment condemned to pay a fine of $10,000. The first part of Dr. Evans' charge against the West Virginia statutes ignores completely the fact that this is a part of the common law principle of due diligence which has protected so many practitioners in malpract ice suits. The practitioner

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