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Jury’s Ruling May Give Medical Experts the Courage They Need to Testify

Medical malpractice claims are often complex. One unique aspect about these cases is the common need for a medical expert to review the facts. This expert often consults with the attorney and will review the file to determine whether a victim's allegations of negligence or mistreatment have merit. Without this process medical malpractice claims cannot go forward unless gross negligence exists.

These experts are held to high standards, and their findings may be reviewed by both medical licensing boards and professional societies. Both organizations can discipline a physician if they feel that the testimony was inappropriate.

An orthopedic surgeon recently faced allegations that his testimony in a case was improper. The allegations were issued by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), a prestigious organization that aims to "advance the highest quality of musculoskeletal health." The group offers continuing education for physicians and membership is thought to offer a competitive advantage in their job market.

Details and Future Impact of the Case

The group determined that the physician's testimony was improper and issued sanctions against the doctor. The penalties included a two year membership suspension and an article detailing the findings in an AAOS publication.

The physician sued the organization and a jury found in the physician's favor. The ruling stated that the organization falsely portrayed the doctor in AAOS's newsletter.

This case is one of the first successful challenges between an expert witness and medical society. The jury's finding may give similar experts a stronger sense of courage to report their findings and the encouragement they need to sue if they receive sanctions from medical societies for their testimony.

Although medical professionals may be emboldened to provide expert testimony because of the jury's finding in this case, finding the right professional for your unique situation can be difficult.

As a result, if you or a loved one is injured by a doctor's negligence it is important to discuss your situation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney to better ensure your legal rights and remedies are protected.