Climate Change Project

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The law is concerned primarily with relationships between individuals and between individuals and the state. Some legal rules apply equally to all relationships; others depend on the particulars of the relationship. The rules that apply equally to all persons--business law, constitutional rights, criminal law, and family law--define the civic role of citizens of society.

Medical practice involves several types of legal relationships. The legal rules that are unique to these relationships define the professional role of the physician in society. For example, physicians may prescribe drugs and carry out procedures that are forbidden to nonphysicians. A physician who wishes to avoid legal conflicts in a particular relationship must be aware of the legal rules governing that relationship. The first step, however, is understanding the classes of relationships that a physician may be involved in.

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