Debate continues about the role of professional medical organizations in policing the trial testimony of their members.
The American Medical Association’s amednews.com reported in late October that expert witness ophthalmologist Charles Yancey of Minnesota was sent a fax, one day before a deposition in which he was to give testimony, notifying him of a pending review by the American Academy of Ophthalmology of his testimony in a previous suit. The deposition was part of a second trial, to assess damages, in a case against two doctors who had been found liable to a patient in a LASIK surgery. The defendant doctors had complained that Yancey allegedly gave inaccurate testimony, according to amednews.com. Yancey has sued all three for defamation and intimidation.
The article noted that several professional organizations have processes that allow members to report “questionable expert witness testimony” of other members. The AMA’s policy also is that such testimony should be peer reviewed.
The arguments for peer review are that it ensures accuracy and an upholding of the standards of care. The counter arguments are that such reviews negatively pressure doctors and that expert testimony is not part of practicing medicine. •
© 2007 The Medical-Legal News
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