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Research Institute: "Legal Risks of Curbside Consults"

Dr. Cotton authored a paper on the "Legal Risks of Curbside Consults" which was published in the July 2010 edition of The American Journal of Cardiology. The paper demonstrates that there is NO legal risk associated with a true curbside consult and distinguishes curbside consults from other types of physician-physician interaction with which they should not be confused. The paper concludes by stating that curbside consults should occur as often as needed and to whatever degree is necessary for proper patient care. It is unfortunate that errant risk management advice has led physicians to believe otherwise and unnecessarily compromised patient care as a result.

Legal Risks of "Curbside" Consults
Am J Cardiol, 2010 Jul 1;106(1) 135-8 Epub 2010 May 13.
Cotton, VR

Abstract

"Curbside" consults, in which physicians informally solicit one another's opinions, are an integral part of our medical culture and invaluable to the care of our patients. Unfortunately, there is widespread uncertainty as to the degree of legal risk they pose and growing concern in the risk management community that curbside consults should be limited in scope if not eliminated entirely. This places curbside consultants in a quandary, seemingly forced to choose among their ethical obligation to patients, their sense of duty to colleagues, and their own legal well-being. The author evaluates the legal aspects of curbside consults, distinguishes them from clinical interactions with which they must not be confused, and then provides guidance for conducting curbside consults. In conclusion, curbside consults should occur as often as needed and to whatever degree is necessary for proper patient care.

Medical-legal education with a passion for medicine and compassion for patients.