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Malpractice: A Trial Lawyer's Advice for Physicians

Arch Surg. 1978;113(7):907. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1978.01370190129034.
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Alton's book is quite entertainingly written and includes many very interesting cases from his own practice. His discussions of such practical matters as medical records are excellent. His chapters on the preliminary steps in and the trial of a malpractice case are extremely clear and well worth the price of the book for any physician who wants to know quite simply, "What happens if I get sued?" Over-simplification of the legal principles and concepts behind the "what happens" is, however, the book's downfall.

In the first place, Alton is a New York lawyer discussing New York law. When the jurisprudence in that state conflicts with the rules in some or all of the other states, he does not mention it. In fact, in the preface, he says there may be "minor variations" in the law of other states but they are "inconsequential" to the basic understanding he seeks to impart.


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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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