Medico-Legal Issues in Cardiology

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Abstract

The aim of this article is to educate physicians about the current litigation climate in cardiology and cardiac surgery, with a focus on the most frequently litigated areas of practice, including failure to diagnose and treat myocardial infarction, coronary artery bypass graft surgery, percutaneous coronary intervention, and the use of tissue plasminogen activator. Empirical research on cardiology malpractice is presented, along with a sampling of up-to-date cases designed to illustrate common issues and important themes. The principles for reducing legal liability are also discussed, including the informed consent process, spoliation of records, and the role of documentation. Finally, practical recommendations are provided for cardiologists and cardiac surgeons to limit their legal liability.

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