Recent rulings have addressed requirements for experts who testify against physicians. The central issue: Should witnesses and defendants have the same or similar medical specialty? This recent article in American Medical News explores the topic.
More than 30 states set professional standards, and in the past year and a half, at least 13 different states have addressed the question in court; outcomes have varied.
“Obviously, not all judges are medically sophisticated, and it’s also possible that a judge can be taken in by” assertions that a witness is qualified, noted Louise B. Andrew MD, a medical liability attorney and founder of MD Mentor. “It’s very possible for someone who is a skilled speaker — and, therefore, probably a ‘good’ expert witness — to convince a jury that they are the real experts. It’s possible that judges are misled just like juries are misled.”
“The plaintiffs’ bar is going to do whatever it can to make it easier to bring a tort case,” noted Darren McKinney of the American Tort Reform Association. “Of course, the less exacting a state’s standards, the easier it is to bring a potential meritless case and to continue to [pressure] defendants to settle.” Read more…