Intended for healthcare professionals


US doctors debate refusing treatment to malpractice lawyers

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 24 June 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:1518
  1. Fred Charatan
  1. Florida

    Animosity between doctors and medical malpractice lawyers has reached such a pitch in the United States that the American Medical Association last week debated a motion proposing that doctors should refuse medical treatment to such lawyers, their families, and employees except in emergencies.

    Although the motion, brought by Dr Chris Hawk, a surgeon from South Carolina, was lost, some doctors felt the fact that it was proposed at all shows how bad relations between the professions have become. Doctors are angry, among other things, at the effect that malpractice awards are having on their insurance premiums.

    Dr Clinton “Rick” Miller, a prominent neurosurgeon from New Hampshire, is one doctor who supports the idea of refusing treatment except in emergencies. In his 25 year …

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