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December 1962

Professional Liability in Dermatology

Author Affiliations


Clinical Professor and Chairman (Dr. Rees), Division of Dermatology, University of California School of Medicine.

Director of Special Services (Mr. Whelan), California Medical Association.

Arch Dermatol. 1962;86(6):788-799. doi:10.1001/archderm.1962.01590120086015

The prudent physician needs professional liability insurance to indemnify him against judgments, the cost of defense, and false or unfounded claims and suits. A physician is not a warrantor of cures, yet the public (who make up juries) expects near infallibility from physicians.1 Malpractice is the failure of a physician to use average skill, due care, and precaution in rendering his professional services to a patient.2 The concept of medical malpractice has been altered by the courts and by articles written by legal scholars in recent years to compare the physician's care of a patient in the light of what may be looked on as the very best care in a community.3 The care rendered by a board-certified dermatologist will generally be compared with the practice by other specialists in the same field, since specialists probably will be called to testify concerning the prevailing standard of care rendered in that community.