Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Testifying as a Medical Expert Witness

There's a great article in the current issue of the Physician Executive Journal titled, "Testifying as a Medical Expert Witness." The article is written by Perry Hookman, MD, FACP, FACG, FACPE.  Dr. Hookman is Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Dr. Hookman explains that he enjoys testifying as a medical expert witness. He also writes about his perspectives and experience. Here are a few snippets from the article:
  • Only about one-third of an opposing attorney’s questions to you—the physician or expert—will relate to your medical opinion.
  • Through diligent and creative discovery, the opposing counsel will develop and analyze flaws or weaknesses in your background, qualifications, education, employment and experience.
  • As a start to your testimony you will be served with a subpoena that allows the opposing attorney to obtain a lot of information about you. This includes at a minimum your CV, your background, your publications, and especially a list of your past cases.
  • The most frequent attack made on an expert witness is that he or she is a "hired gun" who testifies in whatever way the payee wants.
I know a number of physicians who earn supplemental income by serving as a medical expert witness. After all, our society is full of litigious people and medical malpractice lawsuits seem to come up all the time. There are certain states where these types of legal cases occur more frequently.

You can read the entire article by visiting the ACPE website and searching for the article (subscription required). Do you think you'd enjoy testifying as a medical expert witness?

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