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Comment & Response
July 2014

We Have Strict Statutes and Most Biting Laws—Reply

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3Bureau of Healthcare Safety and Quality, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 4Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Boston
JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(7):1202-1203. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.764

In Reply We thank Dr Harris for acknowledging the importance of malpractice risk that primary care physicians (and, we would add, their patients) painfully face, particularly the significant burden that the 3.3% annual rate translates to as it cumulatively accrues over a physician’s career. Dr Harris’ calculations, as well our findings, are consistent with other reported data.1,2 Aside from emphasis on the high statistical lifetime likelihood that a primary care physician might be sued, the author points out the value of the “identification of the breakdowns in care,” as well as raising the potential for resulting “defensive” medical practices.

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