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Increased scrutiny for medical experts

August 5, 2011

An interesting article recently posted at amednews.com discusses the increased scrutiny medical doctors are facing when testifying as expert witnesses.  “Expert witnesses on trial” by Alicia Gallegos notes that at least 30 states have laws governing expert witnesses.  A few states are actively pursuing legal standards to avoid the “hired gun” type of expert who may be prone to ethical violations when testifying.  A few excerpts from the article:

Florida is the latest state to pass restrictions on the use of expert witnesses in medical liability cases. Under a law signed July 1 by the governor, out-of-state physicians offering expert testimony must apply for a certificate to testify. The state medical board can discipline them if they provide deceptive testimony.

Some statutes, such as Arizona’s, require witnesses to practice in the same specialty as the physician defendant. Others, like Maryland’s, mandate that doctors spend a certain amount of time actively practicing medicine.

In Mississippi, doctors from out of state who give deceptive testimony can be prohibited by court injunction from testifying in future cases.

Read the full article for some specific case examples of alleged improper testimony by medical expert witnesses and to see if your state’s professional standards are discussed.

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