In a story that has gotten surprisingly little media coverage, a doctor from

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Colorado will go on trial for the suicidal death of a 19-year-old Stanford student. Why should this story have gotten wider coverage? Because the Colorado doctor prescribed Prozac to the located-in-California 19-year-old, without ever seeing or talking to him, on behalf of an India-based company that sells drugs over the Internet. This is the first case to go to court for what I would call telemalpractice. Even though the facts of the case seem clear, the doctor involved is actually only being prosecuted for practicing medicine in the state of California without a valid medical license. And buried in the San Francisco Chronicle coverage of this case is the fact that all the companies involved have gotten completely off the hook. The “practicing without a license” charge against the individual doctor is all that is left as a recourse for the family. As health-care goes global (usually for increased profit margins), will we export our legal malpractice standards and our licensing standard-of-care criteria also? This case would seem to argue that we won’t – even if the doctor is located somewhere in the United States.

So where do you stand on the issue of telemalpractice? Weigh in by adding to the comments section below.

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