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Myth 3: Patients Should Be Sophisticated Consumers

Sometimes a patient sues a physician when the bad result was not the latter's fault. But patients and their attorneys are not medical scientists and do not immediately know the difference between bad practice and bad luck. It is very difficult for a lay patient to be a knowledgeable consumer of medical care. Interestingly, it is not clear that physicians are any better at recognizing when they have negligently injured a patient. One study of a malpractice insurance plan that encouraged the early reporting of adverse incidents found that these reports appeared to be made at random.[19]

[19]Miller AR; Richards EP: Incident Reporting Times. American Statistical Society Proceedings of the Business and Economics Statistics Section pp. 327-339 (1989).

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