Medical students are the most important source of conflict between the legal strictures on medical training and the actual conduct of that training. Unless they hold a license to practice medicine in the state where they are training, medical students have the same legal status as laymen. Despite this legal status, medical students are often given significant authority to make independent medical judgments. This is tolerated under the various medical practice acts as long as the medical student is supervised by a licensed physician. This does not protect the licensed physician or the medical student from civil liability for negligence; it provides protection only from prosecution for the unauthorized practice of medicine. The supervising physician and the medical student are still subject to medical malpractice litigation, and they may also be subject to a lawsuit for fraud.
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