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December 1985

The Plaintiff's Attorney's Point of View

Arch Ophthalmol. 1985;103(12):1791-1793. doi:10.1001/archopht.1985.01050120025012

The duty of a health care provider has been stated in many ways, but the fundamental concept is no different from that applied in general negligence litigation. The basic negligence concepts of duty, breach of that duty, proximate cause, and damages generally apply equally in the rear-end collision case as in the medical negligence action. The running of a medical stop sign, however, has been denigrated by the odious connotations that attach to the term malpractice. The appellation malpractice perpetuates the misconception by implying that the medical professional's conduct is "reprehensible, or of criminal intent" (Random House Dictionary of the English Language). The law does not recognize this popular misconception and merely substitutes the reasonable-man standard applied in the rear-end collision case to the reasonable-physician/specialist standard in the medical negligence case.

STANDARD OF CARE  The basic difference between general negligence cases and those involving professional negligence concerns the method or

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