The author states in his introduction that he wants to dispel the confusion and misunderstanding surrounding the legal implications of emergency care. However, his axe grinds sharply against his basic underlying concern—that is, a plea for improved emergency-care training and better emergency facilities.
Mr. Chayet defines in simple terms the legal concept of the "duty to act"—the key to any legal responsibility. Few physicians are aware that a relatively minor act makes them legally liable for the subsequent care of the patient. With the hospital emergency room becoming the primary locus of physician-patient contact, the "on call" attending man is well advised to avoid any advice unless he is willing to accept the patient as his personal responsibility.
In stressing the role of the hospital in emergency care, the author reproduces the "Standards for Hospital Emergency Wards," of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals. As the courts tend to