Often physicians are forced to grin and bear it after an adverse verdict or forced settlement based on unethical testimony. My service provides accountability, practice protection, and professional satisfaction.
Medical societies & professional organizations are the best forums for examining the unethical expert testimony of their own members. While the process of peer review is far from uniform, our knowledge & experience allow us to utilize these organization’s internal disciplinary procedures and hold expert witnesses accountable for their unethical testimony.
How We Hold Physician Expert Witnesses Accountable For Unethical Testimony
Board certification in a medical specialty requires membership in a medical professional speciality organization. These organizations have developed codes of ethics and established ethics committees to examine the conduct of their members. Many of these codes are modeled after the American Medical Association code of ethics. While the differences are nuanced, most explicitly regulate the expert testimony of their members.
To initiate the process, a potential client sends us the deposition and trial testimony of the expert in question after a case has come to a final judgment or settlement. We identify the areas of testimony which are ripe for review. Common issues involve narrow standard of care opinions, the expert not reading all the relevant testimony, and the expert’s opinion having no basis in scientific literature. In consultation with the client, we draft a grievance and submit it to the ethics panel on behalf of the client. Most organizations require the person bringing the grievance to be a member. Upon submission, counsel for the organization reviews the subject matter of the grievance to ascertain if it’s appropriate for review by a panel of ethics committee members. (We submitted 6 complaints last year, all of which were accepted). Once accepted, the party whom the complaint was filed against may file an answer and can request a hearing in front of a panel of randomly selected members of the organization. If a hearing is requested, the complainant need not attend. (In practice, most physicians choose to attend and I advise them to do so. I also attend as counsel). At the hearing, both sides get thirty minutes to present their case. Both parties also have time to question each other at the end of their presentations. After the hearing, the panel will convene and render a decision and propose discipline, if any. Discipline can include a warning: a non public reprimand; censure: a published reprimand which include the physician’s name; suspension: a public, named reprimand which must be reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank; or expulsion: banned from board certification in that specialty. Last year, my practice successfully defended the testimony of physician expert witnesses resulting in no public discipline and brought complaints on behalf of our clients which resulted in the suspension of board certification. (This description is based on the process of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and other organizations procedures may vary slightly).
Why Should You Hire Us?
- We are experts at using societal bylaws and codes of ethics to hold expert witnesses accountable for their unethical conduct.
- We are at the forefront of the ever-changing professional liability landscape. Court backlogs create the prospect of unending litigation. We use our knowledge of your organization’s procedures to resolve the vast majority of cases within one year.
- If you’re in a litigious profession, it is important to have a zealous advocate on deck whose only interest is your own, not the insurance company’s.
- For little cost when compared to litigation, this service can change the structure of future litigation in a targeted high risk medical community and in your practice.
- Expert’s are less likely to testify against physicians when they know their testimony will be subjected to exacting scrutiny and peer review. This is especially so when the expert is a “gun for hire.”
- The opportunity to sit down with the expert witness or complainant and question the propriety of their testimony in front of the leadership of your specialty.
- For the individual physician, if you could take some proactive action which would lower the chances of facing a malpractice suit in the future, which in turn would lower the costs associated with your practice, would you? If the answer is ‘yes’, please feel free to reach out to my office.
We represent both individual physicians and entire practice groups. Many clients choose to retain us on a yearly basis as most medical malpractice insurance policies do not cover the defense of these professional society actions. As this is a highly technical and niche practice area, having an attorney who is an expert on the process and procedure is critical when your very ability to practice medicine in your specialty is at stake.
We also provide this service for self-insuring institutions looking to reduce their medical malpractice exposure by both training their physicians on testifying within the ethical framework of their medical specialty and going after unethical expert witness testimony provided against their physicians.
For a personal consultation on how we can protect your practice and provide accountability should you become the victim of unethical expert testimony, contact attorney Kris Aleksov directly at 508-322-1335 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to discuss how we can provide this service to you? Or just want more information? Contact Attorney Kris Aleksov.