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Editorials |

Medical Malpractice: Folklore, Facts, and the Future

Randall R. Bovbjerg, JD
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The author takes sole responsibility for the conclusions and opinions expressed in this editorial, which do not necessarily reflect the views of other staff members of the Urban Institute, its officers, trustees, and advisory groups, or any organizations that provide financial support to the Institute.

Grant Support: By the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Requests for Reprints: Randall R. Bovbjerg, Health Policy Center, The Urban Institute, 2100 M Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037.

Ann Intern Med. 1992;117(9):788-791. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-117-9-788
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Physicians and attorneys often can barely converse about malpractice topics. Why cannot doctors and lawyers see eye to eye? Differences in professional selfinterest naturally loom large, but unshared misperceptions play a role as well. The article by Taragin and colleagues (1) in this issue of Annals should help to dispel some misperceptions. This editorial reviews the main folklore and the main real problems; discusses reforms for the short, medium, and long terms; and makes suggestions for the future.

Myth versus Reality in Malpractice: Medical myth holds that malpractice law lacks any redeeming social value. Legal myth suggests that law is


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Medical malpractice: folklore, facts, and the future. Ann Intern Med 1992;117(9):788-91.
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