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Specialists vs Generalists: Finding Common Knowledge Among Reasonable Physicians in Malpractice Trials

December 1, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EST


Patrick Garon-Sayegh, SJD candidate, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto

About this Seminar:

The legal standard for medical malpractice tells us very little on its own. To make a specific malpractice claim, the legal standard must be suffused with a case’s particulars and the opinion of medical experts. Thus, medical experts are often the key to malpractice claims. Without them, it is in most cases impossible to know whether or not a given medical action constituted malpractice.

This presentation explores a fundamental question: When is a physician properly qualified to critique another physician’s work, for the purposes of determining whether or not malpractice occurred? The presentation will draw on case law and malpractice trial transcripts to show how this question can raise heterogenous arguments, among which formal credentials play only a small part.

The presentation will contribute to the goal of the Bioethics Seminar Series by fostering interdisciplinary discussion on issues related to expertise—who can claim it, against whom, and when. These issues are central to healthcare. Indeed, physicians, nurses, bioethicists, etc., are all “experts” of some kind, and routinely claim epistemic authority over others as a result. This raises serious ethical and political questions, especially since COVID-19, which has spurned pushback against expert authority on a remarkable scale.

Additional Details:

This event is free and is open to the general public.

The direct link to the seminar will be sent out to registered participants 2 hours before the event. The JCB Bioethics Seminars are now being live-streamed to our YouTube channel. If you don’t receive the link 2 hours before the event, please head over there and click on the live stream. Subscribe to our channel to receive notices of upcoming events.


Please email Laurie Bulchak, laurie.bulchak@utoronto.ca.


December 1, 2021
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EST
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Joint Centre for Bioethics
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