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June 1986

Physicians and the Law

Author Affiliations

School of Law University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA 22901

Am J Dis Child. 1986;140(6):525-526. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1986.02140200035020

The medical profession is deeply troubled by current developments in the American law of professional and product liability. The article "DTP Vaccine Litigation" by Dr Hinman1 reflects these concerns. The pertussis immunization program is threatened by a rising tide of product liability litigation. If the program falters, the lives and health of thousands of children will be in jeopardy. That our legal system permits such a threat is astonishing.

As a lawyer who believes that many of the concerns of the medical profession about current legal developments are correct, I find it striking how helpless individual physicians (and their organized professional associations) become when dealing with the subject. For more than a decade, the medical profession has been spending countless hours and dollars to get the state legislatures to adopt meaningful reform in the malpractice area. Volumes of legislation have been adopted with little noticeable