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Article
June 1987

A Forum for Reporting Complications

Author Affiliations

Chapel Hill, NC

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1987;113(6):670. doi:10.1001/archotol.1987.01860060096027

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Abstract

To the Editor.—Certainly we can agree that a crisis confronts us with regard to the increasing malpractice litigation that threatens the effective delivery of health care in our society. "Defensive medicine" is an unfortunate consequence of the dramatic escalation of malpractice claims filed and the resultant rise in malpractice premiums. We surgeons are well aware that unusual complications may arise both intraoperatively and postoperatively as a result of our mistaken clinical judgment or slip of the hand. Unfortunately, the lay public and the legal system judge us according to a standard of perfection. Everyone makes mistakes in every other profession, but none are so harshly judged as in our own arena. Informed consent mandates that our patients be aware of the reasonable risks and benefits of the proposed procedure as well as alternative forms of treatment. The dilemma arises when we must draw a line between the complications that

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