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STANDARDS FOR SURGERY

Although there is no fundamental reason that surgeons should be held to stricter standards than other practitioners, the nature of their errors makes it easier to convince a jury that a surgeon was negligent. Surgeons tend to present their treatments as curative, encouraging patients to have high expectations about their prognosis. There is also a tendency for laypeople to view surgery as a technical skill, such as carpentry or plumbing. While this may be true of the actual cutting and sewing, it ignores the judgment that is necessary to decide when and what to cut. Surgical consents are too often explained in mechanical terms that oversimplify the patient's problem and the surgeon's remedy.



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