Medicine: The Patient Becomes the Plaintiff

In many lawsuits that result in the award of damages for malpractice, the fault clearly lies with the physician or the hospital. In others, doctors have unfairly been found guilty of malpractice when patients developed unexpected complications after conscientious, sound treatment. Whatever the case, the number of suits—and the amounts awarded —have been increasing astronomically.

> During a schoolyard fight in San Rafael, Calif., in 1970, Kelly Niles, 11, was hit on the right side of his head and taken by his father to the emergency room of San Francisco's Mt. Zion Hospital....

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