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Abandonment
withdrawing medical care from a patient without providing sufficient notice to the patient.
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)
a disease resulting in infections that occur as a result of exposure to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes the immune system to break down.
Advance directive
the various methods by which a patient has the right to self-determination prior to a medical necessity; includes living wills, healthcare proxies, and durable power of attorney.
Against medical advice (AMA)
when a noncompliant patient leaves a hospital without physician's permission.
Agent
person authorized to act on behalf of a patient.
Consent
the voluntary agreement that a patient gives to allow a medically trained person the permission to touch, examine, and perform a treatment.
Do not resuscitate (DNR)
a designation placed on a patient's medical record indicating that in the case of cessation of circulation and breathing, artificial resuscitation (CPR) is not to be done.
Durable power of attorney
a legal agreement that allows an agent or representative of the patient to act on behalf of the patient.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
the virus that causes the immune system to break down and can eventually result in the disease AIDS.
Implied consent
an agreement that is made through inference by signs, inaction, or silence.
In loco parentis
a person assigned by a court to stand in place of the parents and who possesses their legal rights and responsibilities toward the child.
Informed (or expressed) consent
consent granted by a person after the patient has received knowledge and understanding of potential risks and benefits.
Living will
a legal document in which a person states that life-sustaining treatments and nutritional support should not be used to prolong life; a type of advance directive.
Minor
a person who has not reached the age of maturity, which in most states is 18.
Parens patriae authority
occurs when the state takes responsibility from the parents for the care and custody of minors under the age of 18.
Privileged communication
confidential information that has been told to a physician (or attorney) by the patient.
Prognosis
prediction for the course of a disease.
Proxy
a person who acts on behalf of another person.
Uniform Anatomical Gift Act
a state statute allowing persons 18 years of age and of sound mind to make a gift of any or all body parts for purposes of organ transplantation or medical research.
Affirmative defense
allows the defendant (usually physician or hospital) to present evidence that the patient's condition was the result of factors other than the defendant's negligence.
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR)
methods for resolving a civil dispute that do not involve going to court.
Arbitration
submitting a dispute for resolution to a person other than a judge.
Arbitrator
a person chosen to decide a disagreement between two parties.
Assumption of risk
a legal defense that prevents a plaintiff from recovering damages if the plaintiff voluntarily accepts a risk associated with the activity.
Borrowed servant doctrine
a special application of respondeat superior in which an employer lends an employee to someone else.
Cap
limit
Claims-made insurance
liability insurance that covers the insured party for only the claims made during the time period the policy is in effect (or policy year).
Comparative negligence
a defense, similar to contributory negligence, that the plaintiff's own negligence helped cause the injury; not a complete bar to recovery of damages but only damages based on the amount of the plaintiff's fault
Compensatory damages
an amount of money awarded by the court to make up for loss of income or emotional pain and suffering.
Contributory negligence
conduct on the part of the plaintiff that is a contributing cause of injuries; a complete bar to recovery of damages.
Damages
any injuries caused by the defendant; usually a monetary award is given as compensation.
Defensive medicine
ordering more tests and procedures than are necessary in order to protect oneself from a lawsuit.
Dereliction
neglect, as in neglect of duty.
Direct cause
the continuous sequence of events, unbroken by any intervening cause, that produces an injury and without which the injury would not have occurred.
Duty
obligation or responsibility
Feasance
doing an act or performing a duty.
Federal Rules of Evidence
rules that govern the admissibility of evidence into federal court.
Fraud
the deliberate concealment of the facts from another person for unlawful or unfair gain.
Law of agency
the legal relationship formed between two people when one person agrees to perform work for another person.
Liable
legal responsibility for one's own actions.
Malfeasance
performing an illegal act.
Malpractice
professional misconduct or demonstration of an unreasonable lack of skill with the result of injury, loss, or damage to the patient.
Mediation
using the opinion of a third party to resolve a civil dispute in a nonbinding decision.
Misfeasance
the improper performance of an otherwise proper or lawful act.
Negligence
an unintentional action that occurs when a person either performs or fails to perform an action that a "reasonable person" would or would not have committed in a similar situation.
Nominal damages
a slight or token payment awarded by the court.
Nonfeasance
the failure to perform an action when it is necessary.
Occurrence insurance
also called claims-incurred insurance, liability insurance that covers the insured party for all injuries and incidents that occurred while the policy was in effect (policy year), regardless of when they are reported to the insurer or when the claim is made.
Proximate
the injury was closely (proximately) related to the defendant's negligence.
Punitive damages
also called exemplary damages, monetary award by a court to a person who has been harmed in an especially malicious and willful way; meant to punish the offender.
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