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Direct Providers

The direct provider has these basic duties:

* to comply with statutory duties such as the drug laws

* to obtain proper consent for medical care

* to render care that is not substantially inferior to that offered by like providers

A breach of any of these duties that causes harm to a patient can result in a malpractice suit. While the first two duties are important (and are discussed in subsequent chapters), it is the duty to render good quality medical care that is the basis for most malpractice lawsuits. The breach of this duty is most likely to result in a serious patient injury. The prevention of such negligent injuries is the responsibility of the individual provider, but it also basic to the institution's quality control program.

From the individual provider's point of view, quality control involves continuing education, attention to detail, and retrospective review of the course of the provider's patients. The process is only loosely structured and is usually poorly documented. This lack of formal structure is less important for the individual provider because the provider's actions are judged only within the context of the injured patient in question (although previous actions may be used to negate claims of accidental injury). The legal questions is whether the care rendered the injured patient was negligent. It is not relevant to the case if the provider carried out an effective personal quality control program.

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