There are lots of medical laws with many subspecialties all the way from drug manufacturing to medical professional conduct sometimes called attitude. If a doctor treats you with a bad attitude, he or she is breaking a rule of conduct.
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Doctors are free from prosecution when committing medical errors in many cases as long as they disclose it because it’s a procedure necessary give doctors a feeling of freedom in practicing their craft and it’s a way for them to learn. They are free to discuss their errors in private meetings without fear of charges.
This book is a basic guide to medical law.
Chapter 1. Medical Law Info
Medical Law in the United States
The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and other laws regulate the manufacture, sale and advertising of medical products. In enacting these laws, Congress has operated on the premise that the Federal Government has a legitimate interest in protecting the health of its citizens, while at the same time respecting their freedoms. The system that has developed is one that requires reliable evidence of efficacy and safety accepted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before medicines may be offered legally. This status quo is supported by the "consumer protection" point of view.
Opposition to this system, called the 'freedom of choice' position by some advocates of unconventional cancer treatment, is based on a belief that Americans should be free to decide for themselves which treatments they want to take.
The "consumer protection" point of view is supported by the contention that the average consumer cannot be expected to make informed choices in a complex scientific field.
The argument for "freedom of choice" in medical care is based on the concept of an individual's right of privacy. It is argued that this right prohibits the government from restraining individuals' rights to obtain treatments of their choosing:the patient should be permitted to opt for treatment consistent with his views of higher quality of life.
A parallel argument is made for the physician's right and responsibility to provide medical care. It reasons that well-informed physicians, following their best judgment and having assessed the risks and benefits of a treatment, should be allowed to provide the care they deem best for their patients
There are, in general, no legal restrictions on a U.S. patient's right to choose a treatment for himself or herself, either in the United States or in foreign countries (though parents choosing treatment for a child may be restricted by legal precedents). However, some treatments are excluded from choice in the United States because they involve the use of unapproved substances that could only be offered illegally here.
Variations on the freedom of choice position have been voiced in recent years. For instance, during the lengthy legal battles over the rights of cancer patients to use laetrile, the argument centered on the right of terminally ill patients to choose a treatment that did not meet the safety and efficacy requirements of the FDA. In the final decision of that case, which initially found for the plaintiffs at the Federal district and appeals court levels, the U.S. Supreme Court found that even terminally ill patients should be protected from potentially unsafe and ineffective medicines. The same case indirectly legitimized the autonomy of the FDA, which had been under siege by State legislatures who were independently permitting the use of a federally unapproved treatment within their States, when FDA regulation clearly prohibited State sanctioning.
Laws and regulations designed to protect patients from potentially harmful and ineffective treatments have been criticized by supporters of unconventional treatment for limiting patients' access to treatments of their choice. When State laws have been passed permitting access to specific unconventional cancer treatments that would otherwise be illegal (e.g., laetrile, in the 1970s), they have been criticized by segments of the mainstream medical community for exposing patients to hazardous or ineffective treatments, or for dissuading patients
from seeking potential curative treatment.
Relevant laws and regulations address the approval, labeling, advertising and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical devices; the certification of various types of medical practitioners; professional sanctions against certified practitioners for inappropriate care of patients; the general exclusion of certified individuals from medical practice; and the rules by which publicly funded programs pay for medical care.
More generally, criminal and civil statutes, though developed to
apply to a wide range of situations, sometimes have applied to disputes involving unconventional cancer treatments.
U.S. laws provide for the regulation of the efficacy, safety, advertising and sale of medical drugs and devices, under statutory authority of the FDA, the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Postal Service. Professional standards apply to the practice of medicine and are designed to limit the bounds of medicine to practices with known or definable safety and effectiveness, or practices that are enerallyaccepted' by mainstream medicine, sometimes without formal evidence. Though the threat of professional sanctions exists, physicians appear to have considerable latitude in treating their patients; there are relatively few medical conditions for which the choices of physicians are entirely constrained.
In addition, the enforcement of laws and professional norms is incomplete, so that, in practice, even set bounds are readily exceeded without legal or professional consequences to the physician. The potential for legal action exists against those overstepping the bounds of law, but relatively few actions are actually taken by the Government or by disciplinary bodies.
Some physicians with an interest in using unconventional treatments along with mainstream treatments are reluctant to do so because of the fear of legal action or professional sanctions.
Medical Misconduct Info
Misconduct is not malpractice. That's another area altogether when the doctor messes up medical care due to some manner of negligence.
Misconduct is more a pure ethical matter, when the doctor crosses the line of professional, polite, decent behavior. In general, there are two types of misconduct: