Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1626533
 
 

References (106)



 


 



The Bleeding Physician of Philadelphia: Libel, Defamation, and Our Founding Fathers


Andrew G. Shuman, MD


University of Michigan Hospitals - Department of Otalaryngology

Marc Edelman


City University of New York - Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business; Fordham University School of Law

June 1, 2010


Abstract:     
Dr. Benjamin Rush filed one of the first professional libel lawsuits in the United States, incited by the writings of William Cobbett, a British journalist, concerning his treatment of yellow fever during the 1793 Philadelphia epidemic. The historical setting is described and the lawsuit dissected, with particular attention to the applicability of the tenets of their debate and its relevance to professional medical libel. Although Dr. Rush won his lawsuit based on the medical dogma, legal principles and political climate of his time, a similar lawsuit today would very likely fail, as recent courts have recognized the media’s right to far broader First Amendment protections against libel suits brought by public figures such as world-famous physicians.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 25

Keywords: libel, defamation, medical, medical libel, medical defamation, professional libel, legal history, torts, First Amendment, journalism, media, medicine

JEL Classification: I00, I10, I12, I18, K13, K19, K32, K41, K42, L84

working papers series





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Date posted: June 18, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Shuman, MD, Andrew G. and Edelman, Marc, The Bleeding Physician of Philadelphia: Libel, Defamation, and Our Founding Fathers (June 1, 2010). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1626533 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1626533

Contact Information

Andrew G. Shuman, MD
University of Michigan Hospitals - Department of Otalaryngology ( email )
1500 E. Medical Center Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States
Marc Edelman (Contact Author)
City University of New York - Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business ( email )
One Bernard Baruch Way
Box B9-220
New York, NY 10010
United States
Fordham University School of Law ( email )
140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States
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