Saturday, May 25, 2013

President Lincoln and Medical Malpractice

An improperly healed fracture was the most common reason for the medical malpractice crisis between the 1830s and 1860s in the United States. As a practicing lawyer in Illinois, Abraham Lincoln defended physicians in medical malpractice law suits. One of these was Dr. Powers Ritchey, who was sued for malpractice in 1855.

Lincoln agreed to represent Dr. Ritchey in 1858 as the case was appealed to the supreme court of Illinois. In the interim, Lincoln defended two indicted murderers and won the acquittals for both. Between the two murder trials, Lincoln debated Stephen A. Douglas while running for U.S. Senator from Illinois. Lincoln believed Ritchey's case poorly represented in the lower court. Ritchey's prior attorneys did not file a bill of exceptions to the testimony of the plaintiff's expert medical witnesses. Lincoln attempted to rebut the allegation of a lack of reasonable medical care and diligence by Ritchey, and he sought to secure a new trial for his client. In its decision, the supreme court of Illinois did not find any error and affirmed the lower court's judgment.

From: "On Target", the Target Health, Inc. newsletter, March 22, 2004


It seems to be really fun and thrilling too. I hope there will be more stories about the great Lincoln's journey in
Personal injury casess and I am really waiting for it.

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