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October 1968

Reports of the Board of Trustees on the Malpractice Problem

Arch Otolaryngol. 1968;88(4):348-349. doi:10.1001/archotol.1968.00770010350002

Three reports1 of the Board of Trustees of the AMA on the malpractice problem are of interest to its membership. The first noted that since World War II professional liability has become a matter of growing concern to the medical profession, with an increased tendency of people to sue doctors and with more frequent and higher jury awards.

One reason for the increase in malpractice claims has been, ironically, the increased skills of modern physicians, leading the public, encouraged by glowing articles in the lay press of new "wonder drugs" and "miracle operations," to expect successful treatment in all cases, When expectation is not fulfilled the patient is prone to seek redress for malpractice.

Another major reason is the contingent fee system where the lawyer receives one-third to one-half of the amount recovered, while the patient pays no legal fees if the case is lost. If the verdict is

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