Professional Negligence: When Practice Goes Wrong

Curtis E. Harris; Warren Richards; Jack E. Fincham


The Annals of Pharmacotherapy. 2006;40(7):1377-1382. 

In This Article

Golden Rules of Negligence

Six practical Golden Rules describe malpractice law and the principles used to evaluate our behavior.

  1. Ordinary negligence is common in all human behavior.

  2. The best protection against ordinary negligence is error prevention through risk management strategies, not legal strategy or risk prevention.

  3. Negligence per se (statutory negligence) is uncommon in healthcare malpractice suits, and the effect of such negligence varies from state to state.

  4. Gross negligence is commonly alleged but rarely proven. It is the basis of punitive injury claims.

  5. Good informed consent is an important defense against any claim of negligence but is especially important to disprove gross negligence.

  6. Criminal negligence is charged for rare, egregious behavior and is based on reckless and wanton acts outside of normal professional ethics and practice.

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