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January 3, 1966


JAMA. 1966;195(1):32-33. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100010088024

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Every aspect of medical practice is subject to the impact of the law. Prerequisites for a license to practice medicine are established by statute. Court decisions determine the physician's liability for injuries to patients. Specific restrictions are often imposed on medical judgment in matters such as abortion, narcotics, and sterilization. Legally binding contracts govern medical employment and medical partnerships.

To avoid legal problems, physicians need a comprehensive understanding of the legal aspects of medical practice. More often than not, however, this need is not met by their formal education. What information they have is commonly acquired from their colleagues. Sometimes it is not completely accurate. Moreover, the law is not static but is continually changing.

There is a clear need among physicians for a ready source of information about current legal developments which affect their professional activities. To meet this need, The Journal, in cooperation with the Law Department of

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