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An Orthopaedic Case Contributed Substantially to the First Malpractice Crisis in the United States in the Nineteenth Century
James H. Herndon, MD1
1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, White 535, 55 Fruit Street, Boston, MA 02114. E-mail address: jherndon@partners.org
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Disclosure: The author did not receive payments or services, either directly or indirectly (i.e., via his institution), from a third party in support of any aspect of this work. He, or his institution, has had a financial relationship, in the thirty-six months prior to submission of this work, with an entity in the biomedical arena that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. The author has not had any other relationships, or engaged in any other activities, that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. The complete Disclosures of Potential Conflicts of Interest submitted by authors are always provided with the online version of the article.

Copyright © 2012 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2012 Sep 05;94(17):e129 1-7. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.J.01991
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Extract

Surprisingly, the first malpractice crisis in the United States occurred in the early nineteenth century1. Recent articles commonly refer to three medical malpractice crises, occurring in the mid-1970s, 1980s, and 2002 to 2003—completely forgetting the first major crisis2,3. Even more surprisingly, the early malpractice crisis was triggered largely by an orthopaedic case, relatively unknown today, involving an irreducible dislocated hip that was first radiographed by the author almost 190 years after the patient's injury.
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