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The threat of litigation is ever present for today's surgeon. In many cases it results from genuine negligence; in others the surgeon may have acted without fault, and yet an attempt to sue is made.
So, how can one avoid ending up in court? What types of cases have a tendency for misdiagnosis or mismanagement? What are the key ways of avoiding litigation? This book provides answers to these questions, using examples of cases in which the authors have been personally involved. Along with the common themes of malpractice cases, the behavior characteristics of surgeons that predispose to litigation are also explored, and the wide range of examples discussed provide the reader, particularly the younger one, with a 'cumulative' experience that only the habitually negligent surgeon will experience in a lifetime of surgical practice.
While the main aim of this book is to keep surgeons out of court, it should be seen not just in a narrow 'defensive' context, but in a broader one - that of preventing harm to patients. Patient safety is at the heart of good surgical practice, and it is only through sharing experiences of why things go wrong that we can prevent errors from occurring in the future.
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The Royal Surrey County Hospital, UK (Retired) The Churchill Hospital, Headington, Oxford, UK
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