Case Study: Medical Culpability

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Case Study: Culpability There are several features to the case of the burned patient which could leave the doctor culpable in a court of law. Given the high probability of infection from the operation and her already-compromised vision in the right eye, the doctor's actions in advising her to elect surgery seem extremely unwise. The patient specifically inquired about the risks of the procedure and the physician said there was nothing to worry about, which a layperson would be very likely to interpret as no risk at all (as the patient did). He did not inform her of the high risk of infection which, based upon the presentation of the case study, seems to be a widely-known risk of the procedure in the medical community. Even if the doctor was not aware of this risk and did not strive to educate himself about the possible complications given the patient's fragile conditions, he should still have not assured her that there was "nothing to worry about," given that all surgical procedures entail some risk, including the risk of infection. And while no physician can keep current with every development in the field of medicine, there is some basic, minimum demand for professional education. To prevent future liability risks, physicians should be instructed on how to use language in expressing risk to the patient and be careful to avoid colloquialisms that could mislead them such as "there is nothing to worry about" and "you'll be fine." Physicians must also more carefully
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