Medical Malpractice and the Voices of Medicine

Mary-Jo DelVecchio Good

in American Medicine

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 1995 | ISBN: 9780520088962
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520922037 | DOI:
Medical Malpractice and the Voices of Medicine

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  • Medical Anthropology


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This chapter presents a picture of the ferment over medical liability and malpractice that colored the period throughout the ethnographic studies. The ways individual physicians and medical collectivities responded to the malpractice crises illustrate a diversity of professional voices and repertoires of discourse on competence. The multiple voices of the profession present in the malpractice debates suggest three primary repertoires in which physicians speak and write about competence: an intra-professional repertoire primarily internal to and intended only for members of the profession; an extra-professional repertoire consciously designed to represent professional interests and to mediate between medicine and the public; and a reflective repertoire, providing individual physicians with acceptable cultural genres through which to explore experiences of competence and incompetence.

Keywords: medical malpractice; medical liability; ethnographic studies; medical competence

Chapter.  6516 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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