Ethical Issues in Medical Malpractice

Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2006 Aug;24(3):733-47. doi: 10.1016/j.emc.2006.05.017.


The interrelationships between biomedical ethics and the law are perhaps nowhere as starkly apparent as in the realm of medical malpractice. Although ethical and legal conduct and practices are often in harmony, in many areas ethical principles and the issues surrounding medical liability appear to come into conflict. Disclosure of errors; quality improvement activities; the practice of defensive medicine; dealing with patients who wish to leave against medical advice; provision of futile care at the insistence of patients or families; and the various protections of Good Samaritan laws are just a few of these. In addition, the ethical principles governing the conduct of physicians serving as expert witnesses in medical malpractice cases have become a subject of intense interest in recent years.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Advance Directives / ethics
  • Advance Directives / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Emergency Medicine / ethics*
  • Emergency Medicine / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Malpractice* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Medical Errors / ethics*
  • Medical Futility / ethics
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Treatment Refusal
  • Truth Disclosure / ethics*
  • United States