Features  |   March 2014
Protecting Patients From Physician Incompetence
Author Affiliations
  • Jeffrey S. Jacobs, M.D.
    Committee on Ethics
Article Information
Ethics / Medicolegal Issues / Advocacy and Legislative Issues / Features
Features   |   March 2014
Protecting Patients From Physician Incompetence
ASA Monitor 03 2014, Vol.78, 10-12.
ASA Monitor 03 2014, Vol.78, 10-12.
How many times has an anesthesiologist heard this question from a preoperative patient: “My surgeon is good, right?” What happens if the answer is “no”?
In this era of health care reform and in the push for maximum patient safety, one of the missing puzzle pieces from the physician’s perspective is tort reform, i.e., medical malpractice reform. In fact, the American Medical Association produced a white paper regarding the topic. One of the sticking points with tort reform is the claim by personal injury attorneys that the public needs to be protected from bad doctors. The allegation by those attorneys is that physicians do a poor job of “policing” themselves. Even more important than tort reform is the concept of patient protection from these subpar physicians. It is indisputable that anesthesiologists have led all other medical specialties in the category of patient safety initiatives. There is no reason that safety should stop with technology, physiology and pharmacology.
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