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Defensive Medicine and the Imposition of a More Demanding Standard of Care
Vera Lúcia Raposo1,2
Source PublicationJournal of Legal Medicine

“Defensive medicine” refers to the practice of medicine guided by the intention to avoid litigation, either by excluding scenarios with potential risks (negative defensive medicine) or by providing additional health care (positive defensive medicine). Positive defensive medicine is the topic of this article.

Despite the criticism surrounding it, positive defensive medicine is increasing because doctors feel that they will be better protected from litigation if they provide more medical care. Courts, patients, and the community in general never seem to have enough medical care and are even willing to accept some negative outcomes if they feel that the doctor is doing a lot.

There are, however, several negative consequences engendered by positive defensive medicine. This article focuses on a particularly pernicious one: the consolidation of an extremely demanding standard of care. If a significant number of doctors starts acting as imposed by defensive medicine, the rest will feel pressured to follow that behavior. Customary conduct will prevail over reasonable conduct.

This article demonstrates that this new standard of care leads to bad medicine and eventually to medical malpractice, because it postpones necessary treatments, exposes patients to unnecessary risks, and results in ineffective medical care.

Indexed BySSCI
WOS Research AreaGovernment & Law ; Biomedical Social Sciences
WOS SubjectLaw ; Social Sciences, Biomedical
WOS IDWOS:000507343200002
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Cited Times [WOS]:3   [WOS Record]     [Related Records in WOS]
Document TypeJournal article
CollectionFaculty of Law
Corresponding AuthorVera Lúcia Raposo
Affiliation1.Faculty of Law of the University of Macau
2.Faculty of Law of Coimbra University
First Author AffilicationFaculty of Law
Corresponding Author AffilicationFaculty of Law
Recommended Citation
GB/T 7714
Vera Lúcia Raposo. Defensive Medicine and the Imposition of a More Demanding Standard of Care[J]. Journal of Legal Medicine,2019,39(4):401-416.
APA Vera Lúcia Raposo.(2019).Defensive Medicine and the Imposition of a More Demanding Standard of Care.Journal of Legal Medicine,39(4),401-416.
MLA Vera Lúcia Raposo."Defensive Medicine and the Imposition of a More Demanding Standard of Care".Journal of Legal Medicine 39.4(2019):401-416.
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