Our Hands Are Tied: Legal Tensions and Medical Ethics

By Marshall B. Kapp | Go to book overview

in Chapter 2. In Chapter 7, possible public policy interventions to deal more effectively with the errors-in-medicine problem by alleviating some of the claimed legal anxieties are outlined.

Closely connected to the problem of medical errors is the substantial difficulty that most physicians experience in dealing with the concepts of medical and legal uncertainty. In every case, "Medical decision making is a probabilistic enterprise," and often decisions must be made and acted upon before the uncertainty can be resolved or even appreciably reduced ( Bosk, 1979, p. 23). Physicians, socialized to expect perfection and wanting to believe that problems all have dichotomous right/wrong answers that they could know if they only had enough information, generally react poorly to the real world of medical gray areas and information voids ( Logan & Scott, 1996; Gerrity, Earp, DeVellis, & Light, 1992; Gerrity, DeVellis, & Earp, 1990).

Similarly, physicians are frustrated because the law, particularly in the malpractice arena with its multiple sources and constant evolution of standards, is often uncertain and ambiguous at any discrete point in time. Physicians want an impossible degree of prospective certainty from the legal system in every conceivable set of circumstances, and they tolerate the gap between expectation and performance poorly ( Morreim, 1990). In the next chapter, I suggest that a fair amount of defensive medical practice that is blamed on fear of litigation and liability is really driven by physicians' uneasy and not always peaceful coexistence with the medical and legal uncertainty that they constantly confront.


CONCLUSION

This chapter has outlined briefly how physicians generally perceive their legal risks within the current medical malpractice environment that engulfs them, as well as physician attitudes toward law and the legal system more broadly. Many of the perceptions commonly held in this sphere are questionable and even outright erroneous. Nonetheless, perceived legal constraints have always been a much more important force than the truth in shaping actual physician behavior toward patients ( McCrary, Swanson, Perkins, & Winslade, 1992, p. 374). It is to the subject of physician behavior, so motivated and influenced, that I turn in the next chapter.


NOTES
1.
Accordingly, this chapter concentrates on civil tort lawsuits alleging medical malpractice brought against individual physicians and other health care profession-

-22-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Our Hands Are Tied: Legal Tensions and Medical Ethics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • References xiv
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • 1 - Losing at the Lottery: Physician Perceptions of the Legal Environment 1
  • Notes 22
  • Notes 23
  • 2 - The Lawyer Made Me Do It: from Legal Perception to Medical Practice 27
  • Note 46
  • References 46
  • 3 - Risk Managers and Legal Counsel: Ethical Enablers or Paid Paranoids? 53
  • References 64
  • 4 - Doing Everything: Treating Legal Fears near the End of Life 65
  • Note 87
  • References 88
  • 5 - Who Is Responsible for This? Everyday Patient Intrusions to Protect the Provider 97
  • Note 118
  • References 118
  • 6 - A Dispirited Lot: Malpractice and What Else? 123
  • 7 - Reconciling Risk Management and Medical Ethics: Opportunities and Obstacles 141
  • References 164
  • Index 171
  • Bout the Author 177
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 180

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.