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On Being a Doctor |

Foreign Body of the Heart

Lawrence Zaroff, MD, PhD
[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

From Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-2160.

Current Author Address: Lawrence Zaroff, MD, PhD, 433 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA, 94965; e-mail, Larryz33@aol.com.

Ann Intern Med. 2004;141(6):479-480. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-141-6-200409210-00016
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For doctors practicing for 20 to 30 years, the chance of avoiding a malpractice suit is equivalent to a tadpole growing wings and becoming a monarch. Theoretically, lawyers go after doctors only when medical care is not up to community standards. No lawyer, not even the most outrageous, would consider suing a doctor who lost a patient because of a stab wound to the heart—if the doctor and patient were on top of Mt. Everest. At 30 degrees below zero, wearing 3 layers of mitts, a skilled surgeon without equipment and anesthesiologist would be helpless. Not that a few lawyers, okay, a very few, wouldn't consider a suit, whatever the circumstances, if they thought they could win a generous settlement.





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