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Malpractice: a perspective for physiotherapists.

Authors
  • Osborne, P H
Type
Published Article
Journal
Physiotherapy Canada. Physiothérapie Canada
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1983
Volume
35
Issue
5
Pages
258–260
Identifiers
PMID: 10262976
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

A malpractice action--one aspect of the application of legal principles known as the law of torts--is a means whereby an injured party may seek compensation for harm caused by another party. The primary function of the law of torts is to determine whether the injurer is under a legal obligation to provide compensation to the injured for some loss due to negligent or faulty conduct. A malpractice action against a physiotherapist involves a plaintiff patient who has been injured, a defendant physiotherapist who stands accused of having caused an injury, and a determination as to whether or not the physiotherapist should bear the loss. In order to establish the liability in negligence, a plaintiff must satisfy four requirements: duty of care, breach of standard of care, causation, and damage. In this paper, a case study of malpractice action against a physiotherapist is outlined as an example of the type of arguments used by both the plaintiff and the defendant. Malpractice actions are an important means of controlling the standards of all health professionals. Because increasingly complicated technology and increased pressures on health care professionals are unlikely to reduce the number of accidents, the malpractice action will continue to provide recourse for those patients injured by lapses from the requisite standards of a profession. The threat of a malpractice action alone, however, is not enough to ensure high professional and ethical standards.

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