Do you think cities should be able to sue doctors who do not push their patients to quit smoking?
CITY WARNS DOCS
By STEPHANIE GASKELL
December 13, 2002 -- The city health department is warning doctors they could face malpractice suits if they don`t push patients to kick the smoking habit - stunning physicians around the city who`ve never heard of such a case. The Health Department`s quarterly newsletter, mailed to doctors, devotes its entire November issue to nicotine addiction and issues a stern warning.
`Because physician intervention can be so effective, failure to provide optimal counseling and treatment is failure to meet the standard of care - and could be considered malpractice!` the newsletter states.
The mailing surfaced as the Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council have agreed on one of the strongest anti-smoking bills in the country, banning smoking in most bars, restaurants and public places. Both doctors and lawyers expressed concern about the implications of medical malpractice cases against doctors for failing to treat nicotine addiction.