Law and Veterinary Medicine
This course acquaints students with basic concepts of law, as well as ethics. The course also seeks to enable students to practice medicine more prudently through application of legal rules. Although substantive standards of law are presented, the course stresses the role of process and creative thought in the development and application of legal and moral principles.
Note also the emphasis on process and creative thought in the description course goals include far more than memorizing the current state of "law" regarding veterinary medicine. We aim to understand the general issues, for they will continue throughout your career to grow, develop, and otherwise change in ways that are unpredictable now.
Note, finally, that all of the goals in this course are relevant, in one way or another, to the important practical aspects of veterinary medicine. Prudence, acquisition of technical, medical and scientific knowledge, and familiarity with contemporary issues being discussed in the profession and in society. All of these are practical requirements for any competent professional. We will turn again and again to practical situations to hone your skills at recognizing the many kinds of legal and values-based issues that characterize veterinary medicine.
* Identify basic legal issues in veterinary medicine. These include issues related to identifiably distinct categories of other animals: (1) wildlife; (2) companion animals; (3) research animals; and (4) farmed or food animals.
* Read and understand JAVMA or other profession-based articles that deal with legal issues (for example, the August 11, 2006 issue of JAVMA includes a long article about confidentiality requirements that uses legal terms that one must be familiar with in order to comprehend this important article).
* Identify and explain basic legal issues arising out of today’s veterinary medicine, including issues in veterinary education, the veterinary profession, and public health.
We will look primarily at law, but also at ethics and practical issues--all of these issues are interwoven in everyday life and usually in very complex ways. One of our principal goals is to untangle them sufficiently so that you can, with regard to any problem you face, distinguish legal issues from ethical issues, ethical issues from practical issues, and so on.
Besides the general learning objectives noted on the homepage, the specific learning objectives in this course include the following--students should be able to:
*Compare and contrast the categories of the 6 boxes diagram, and in particular be able to explain why the "law" box is a separate category in this diagram.
* Define basic legal terms included in course materials.
*Describe and give examples of the differences between professional ethics and law, and be able to explain the relationship of the AVMA's Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics to the state practice acts' codes of professional conduct.
*Distinguish and be able to employ properly each element of the SePACKProSo acronym regarding any fact situation.
*Explain the major positions stated in the AVMA's Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics.
*Describe the role of state practice acts, and the details of specified major sections of the Massachusetts practice act.
*Explain at least these basics about the American legal system:
difference between torts and contracts
difference between federal versus state jurisdiction (relevant to many categories of other animals, and to regulations)
ways in which discovery in the legal system can impact veterinarians even when they are not involved in lawsuits
*Identify and explain the prevailing legal standard for malpractice in veterinary medicine.
*Compare and contrast the basic classifications used in American law regarding other animals.
*Explain how a veterinarian can locate the provisions of existing state law regarding veterinary issues generally and wildlife issues more specifically.
*Identify the principal Massachusetts government institution responsible for the state practice act and regulations pertaining to veterinary medicine.
2. Course Requirements
1.Participation is required and will be part of the grade (computation of grades is discussed in Section IV below). Participation in this course has multiple components weighed equally.
1.Regular attendance is required.
2.Involvement in class and group discussions--I count sleeping in class as noninvolvement.
3.Grades on "minutes papers" and quizzes (described below) count as part of your participation grade because they reflect your preparation for class sessions by doing course work and reading.
2.Course Readings. All required materials are either in this Materials Syllabus or posted. Recommended materials are posted or are listed below.
3.Minutes Papers and Quizzes. "Minutes papers" are written exercises handed out in class that can be answered in one or, at most, a few minutes--hence "minutes papers." They are designed to test your comprehension of basic concepts on which the course is built.
Quizzes will also be used from time to time for the same purpose.
Because your performance on these exercises reflect your preparation or review of course materials, these "minutes papers" and are counted as part of your participation grade.
Website of this course: http://www.core.org.cn/mirrors/Tufts/ocw.tufts.edu/Course/43/Coursehome.htm