Ethics Statements

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Malpractice Position Statement

The Christian Medical & Dental Associations affirm the following:

We are committed to providing excellent care to our patients and we hold ourselves to the highest possible standard.

We recognize that neither medicine nor dentistry is an exact science, and that all clinicians are subject to error. We further recognize that it is likely that we have all unintentionally practiced below the standard of care* at some time. We believe that the excellent practice of medicine and dentistry requires a willingness to recognize and learn from our professional mistakes and maloccurences.

We should take responsibility for bad outcomes that have been caused by our provision of substandard care. We lament that the climate of our culture discourages us from following biblical mandate of confessing, seeking forgiveness, and pursuing reconciliation. We believe that a patient who has been injured by substandard care may be entitled to restitution.

We oppose harassment or frivolous cases filed for vindictive or monetary reasons. We oppose the settlement of any case without the full involvement and informed consent of the doctor.

We recognize that a judicial judgment of professional liability does not necessarily mean that the clinician is incompetent or deserving of practice restriction. Nor does it suggest that we should withhold our compassion and love from that colleague. We should judge neither ourselves nor others too harshly because of an adverse malpractice judgment.

A malpractice suit can cause significant suffering to the individual professional. It may adversely affect his or her physical and emotional health, family and spiritual life, and Christian witness. We should protect our own physical, emotional, and spiritual health through Scripture, prayer, and appropriate counsel from others. In turn, we should volunteer our support and help to our colleagues when they are in need. Compassion and empathetic guidance from others may have a profound influence on the outcome. The manner in which Christian clinicians handle this difficult professional problem can be a unique opportunity to be a distinctive witness for Christ.

*The "standard of care" refers to those acts which a reasonable physician of like training or skill would do in the same or similar situation. The standard of care is not the optimal or best care possible when viewed with the knowledge of an adverse outcome, nor does it take account of less than perfect acts or results.

Approved by the CMDA House of Delegates
Passed with a unanimous vote
May 2000, Orlando, Florida

Download file Malpractice Position Statement with References