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Professional Liability Resources from the CAP

Updated August 4, 2009

Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Articles

Malpractice in Pathology: What to Do When You Are Sued
“A malpractice suit arises when a patient brings legal charges against a physician for suffering that the patient claims to have endured because the physician failed to provide appropriate care.”
((Davis G, Malpractice in Pathology: What to Do When You Are Sued, Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2006; 130(7):975-978.)

The Role of the Autopsy in Medical Malpractice Cases, I
A Review of 99 Appeals Court Decisions
“We studied state court records in 99 cases of medical malpractice adjudicated from 1970 to the present to assess the role of information from autopsies in the outcomes.”
(Bove KE, Iery C, The Role of the Autopsy in Medical Malpractice Cases, I. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2002; 126(9):1023-1031.)

The Role of the Autopsy in Medical Malpractice Cases, II
Controversy Related to Autopsy Performance and Reporting
“In 18 appellate court records, issues were raised about quality of autopsy performance and reporting or about death certification. The details of these controversies are instructive to pathologists who perform autopsies in a hospital setting or on a private fee-for-service basis.”
(Bove KE, Iery C, The Role of the Autopsy in Medical Malpractice Cases, I. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2002; 126(9):1023-1031.)

CAP TODAY Articles

Expert Witness Guidelines: Pathologists Given New Order
in the Courtroom

“The CAP has developed and is disseminating expert witness guidelines for the specialty of pathology.”
(CAP Today, July 2006)

Confusion About Errors in Anatomic Pathology: Problems with Categorizing and Reporting
“Within the field of anatomic pathology, there has been an explosion of academic work examining sources and significance of diagnostic errors, methods for detecting and categorizing errors, and the processes for reducing errors.”
(CAP Today, February 2006)

Lessons Learned From Breast Pathology Malpractice Claims
“Good patient-physician communication is thought to be one of the best protections against professional liability claims.…An honest discussion of the event, emotional support, empathy, and necessary medical care, may prevent a complaint from becoming a claim.”
(CAP Today, April 2002)

Learn To Confirm—Lessons From a Core Needle Case
“Pathologists are at the mercy of overzealous surgeons in some cases—no matter what pathologists say in a report, clinicians can do as they please. Pathologists, therefore, must practice defensively.”
(CAP Today, May 2002)

Melanoma Claims: From Overreaction to Oversight
“Pathologists faced with difficult melanocytic lesions obviously should seek expert advice if for no other reason than to show in a court of law that such advice was sought.”
(CAP Today, August 2002)

Steering Clear of Malpractice Claims
“Proper quality assurance in surgical pathology protects the pathologist, the clinician, and the patient. The patient has a greater likelihood of a correct diagnosis. The clinician is guided as to the proper treatment. And the pathologist has some protection should the correctness of the diagnosis ever be questioned.”
(CAP Today, November 2002)

Do Autopsies Hamper the Defense In Medical Malpractice Suits?
“To determine how autopsy information influences the outcome of medical malpractice litigation, the authors studied state court records in 99 cases of medical malpractice adjudication from 1970 to the present.”
(CAP Today Anatomic Abstract, November 2002)