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March 1969

Fuel on the Fire of Malpractice Claims

Arch Otolaryngol. 1969;89(3):443-444. doi:10.1001/archotol.1969.00770020445001

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IN 1967 A Santa Ana, Calif anesthesiologist and hospital were ordered by the court to pay $1,400,000 in damages to a patient who awoke from his operation for a herniated disk as a brain-damaged quadriplegic. In this same year a Florida jury awarded $1,500,000 against two surgeons and a hospital for a similar result from a routine hemorrhoidectomy and varicose vein operation. These awards set new high records for malpractice and personal injury verdicts.

In 1968 a book was published entitled The Negligent Doctor by a New York attorney who specializes in suing doctors and hospitals. Written for the layman, the book clearly states that its purpose is to encourage dissatisfied patients or their relatives to seek financial compensation through the courts. The author is a trial lawyer who has dramatized the plight of the unsuccessfully treated patient and discredited the defense testimony by careful cross-questioning and quotes from the

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