Who should set medical standards — doctors or lawyers?

In this article I wrote with lawyer Peter A. Corsale (Gallop, Johnson & Neuman, L.C.), we ask the question, “Who should set medical standards — doctors or lawyers?”

I believe that medical standards should be set by doctors. After all, medicine is what doctors are trained to do.

As Peter and I argue, the alternative can be dangerous:

While medical journals and academia may wrestle with what constitutes the standard of care, at the end of a trial the average juror, who will have little if any medical training, will decide whether the defendant practitioner has met the standard of care.  Thus, any evidence that shows that a breach of a standard of care resulted in some detriment to the patient is powerful, no matter how “weak” it actually is.

So, here’s my question: Who would you rather have setting medical standards — doctors or lawyers?

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