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J Am Osteopath Assoc. 1994 Dec;94(12):1039-49.

Medical liability, product liability, and the question of tort reform.

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Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Athens 45701-2979.


Physicians have identified malpractice reform as their first priority during the recent flurry of national reform initiatives. Their focus on malpractice, however, tends to obscure the relationship between malpractice and the systemic problems wracking our healthcare delivery system. Because malpractice has an impact on all three foci of comprehensive reform--quality, cost, and access--it is reasonable to expect healthcare reform to include some manner of tort reform. However, it is important to realize the tangential nature of the relationship and keep the focus of reform on the underlying issues of system reform. The authors define the areas of physician liability under tort law (both malpractice and product liability), point out the misperceptions that inform physician behavior, and review the individual reforms proposed. They identify the stakeholders and their positions on each proposal, while imploring a cooperative, systemwide approach to tort reform.

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