Medical Malpractice and the Tort System

Basil R. Meyerowitz, MD
JAMA. 1990;263(16):2180. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440160042028.
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To the Editor.—  I feel that Mr Jacobson's scholarly article1 deserves some comments.The legal profession has repeatedly pointed a finger at physicians for not policing their colleagues lately. He states that "in the absence of effective sanctions from the medical profession, the tort system is likely to remain the dominant mechanism for monitoring injury prevention." As a former chief of staff of a large community hospital, I have had considerable experience with monitoring the behavior of my colleagues. There is not a single medical staff organization that is not fully cognizant of the difficulties inherent in trying to discipline an errant colleague. The legal profession is ready, willing, and able to come to the support of anyone who is considered by a unanimous group of physicians to be less than up to par. There have been innumerable court cases where physicians have successfully sued the hospital and the


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