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In previous centuries physicians usually had no effect, sometimes had modest effect, and occasionally had a detrimental effect on their patients. Diagnoses are now made with uncanny accuracy and powerful treatments offered, a small percent of which kill or cause further morbidity.
Medical treatments all carry some risk of untoward side-effects. How then do we separate the side effect caused by treatment (misadventure) from the same side effect caused by the impaired or incompetent physician (malpractice)? For example, approximately 300 people a year die from penicillin. Do these side effects mean that physicians are "at fault"? Should penicillin use be
Medicine on Trial: The Appalling Story of Ineptitude, Malfeasance, Neglect, and Arrogance. Ann Intern Med. 1989;110:250. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-110-3-250_1
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1989;110(3):250.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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