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A Piece of My Mind |

The Moment of Truth

Thomas L. Schwenk, MD1
[+] Author Affiliations
1University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno and Las Vegas
JAMA. 2014;311(6):573-574. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.286177.
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Extract

Court reporter: All rise. The Washtenaw County Trial Court is now in session.

Thus begins my trial as a defendant charged with medical malpractice.

I was named as the sole defendant in a lawsuit accusing me of causing a patient’s death through professional negligence—an alleged lack of necessary testing and treatment prior to his sudden cardiac death. This is my first such experience after 35 years of practice and teaching. My few encounters as an expert witness with the legal system had always caused great anxiety. I am now learning how much more stressful it is to be the defendant.

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