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Myth 7: You Cannot Set Standards Because Medicine Is an Art

Most medical professional societies have resisted setting rigorous professional standards. (See Chapter 6.) When a lawsuit is tried, the jury must determine the proper standard of care. The plaintiff and the defendant each has expert witnesses testify as to the proper care of the patient under the circumstances present in the case. Generally, neither side accurately presents the standard of care. The defense tries to portray the standard of care as being very low so the defendant physician's care appears proper. The plaintiff will argue that the standard of care is high--higher than the defendant provided. Depending on who the jury believes, the case will either raise or lower the legally acceptable standard of care.

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