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Comment and Controversy

John Edwards’ case seemed right on target

December 2004 · Vol. 16, No. 12
This week's quiz:
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Although I enjoy Dr. Barbieri’s thoughtful editorials, the one on John Edwards caused me some concern.

Are you saying it is appropriate for a hospital to obtain consent for treatment 80 minutes after the procedure? In my opinion, this borders on fraud and should not be considered a legal document.

Are you saying a hospital/medical staff should not “closely oversee” the care provided by members of the medical staff? In my opinion, this is one of the major functions of the hospital/medical staff.

Ray King, MD
Opp, Alabama

Dr. Barbieri responds:

Thanks to Drs. Bartulica and King for their detailed comments. To my knowledge, Edwards was the first medical liability attorney to take a case to trial without a defendant physician, and to identify as defendants nurses, hospital board members, and administrators. In 1985, this tactic was considered very aggressive. In my opinion, it would appear more constructive to balance the needs of the plaintiff against the potential adverse effects of expanding liability to every individual who interacts with a patient.

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