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Medico-Legal Issues in Cardiology

Abbott, Ryan MD, JD, MTOM*; Cohen, Michael JD

doi: 10.1097/CRD.0b013e31828af110
Review Article

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.

From the *Southwestern Law School, Los Angeles, CA & David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA; and the Michael H. Cohen Law Group, Beverly Hills, CA.

Disclosure: Dr. Abbott reports no conflicts of interest. Mr. Cohen’s law firm represents physicians.

Correspondence: Ryan Abbott, MD, JD, MTOM, Southwestern Law School, 3050 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90010. E-mail:

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.