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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2003 Feb;(407):19-24.

Malpractice: love thy Patient.

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Nebel Orthopedic Center, Port Huron, MI 48060, USA.


The Hippocratic oath commands doctors to be the patient's supreme advocate. Coupling this command with a well-trained physician is the sine qua non of orthopaedic risk management. A favorable doctor and patient relationship also is essential. Avoiding a malpractice lawsuit involves the physician's ability to anticipate and remedy adverse occurrences in diagnosis and treatment, and knowing the essence of informed consent and awareness of the standard of care. Documentation is the common denominator in the defense of malpractice claims and for the surgeons, the perioperative notes are paramount. The occurrence of a malpractice lawsuit is more often the result of the failure to practice the art of medicine by the orthopaedist rather than a failure to apply the science of orthopaedics.

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