Medico-Legal Aspects of Pathology Practice

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Medico-Legal aspects of Pathology Practice Dr.S.M.Kantikar, MD(Path)LLB,PGDMLE Pathologist& Medical Law Consultant Associate Professor in Pathology Shimoga Institute of Medical Sciences Shimoga-Karnataka The four standards that must be justified to establish the validity of a medical negligence claim are duty, breach (negligence), proximal cause (causation of injury), and damage. The concept of duty relates as a pathologist who picks up a slide for interpretation and then issues a report at once establishes the relationship between himself and the patient. The duty incumbent upon the pathologist is the accurate, specific and timely reportage of a biopsy specimen. Errors in interpretation or delays in reporting can be directly attributable to the pathologist. They may also flow from other events only indirectly under the control of the pathologist, such as typographical errors in the stenographic pool, specimen labeling errors, or substandard or erroneous technical performance at any step in the preparation of the tissue for histological interpretation. The responsibility for the erroneous actions of one or more of his employees who are directly under the control of the pathologist may constitute vicarious liability. In the event that the pathologist recognizes that poor technical quality may impact his interpretation in a given case and fails to correct the technical deficiency, he may be considered to have exercised negligent supervision. The demonstration of negligence, also termed breach, is the failure to execute the accepted standard of care. The screening, testing and pathology services of laboratories are important adjuncts to clinical practice. Errors in diagnosis and documentation pose the most common problems in histopathology. In this, liability also depends on many factors including the provision of adequate clinical information by

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