A Comment From A Doctor

I wrote two posts in the last year (here and here)about doctors who have been attacked by organized medicine for giving testimony on behalf of plaintiffs in medical malpractice lawsuits.  The goal of these efforts is not only to punish the doctors for having the audacity to testify for a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case but also to discourage other doctors from testifying.

This weekend I received this comment to one post :

I’m a physician but I do not want to reveal my real name because this topic is so controversial. In the past I would infrequently give depositions or testify in malpractice cases. I think I worked on a total of 20 cases in about 15 years. I have worked both with defense and plaintiff’s attorneys but plaintiff work is easier to get so I did somewhat more of that. When I began to read about the horrendous ordeals some physicians went through when some board picked apart their testimony, I decided to give it up entirely.

I think the current approach, which appears to emphasize suppressing lawsuits, is very misguided. When I signed on to my specialty society, I know I agreed to follow their bylaws but I never dreamed this would subject me to abuse by a "kangaroo court" bent on killing off expert witnesses.

But for me this is simply not a significant enough source of income. I don’t have the time, the energy or the resources to fight this, at least not individually. I hope that those who have more of an interest in this subject will campaign against the efforts of the various medical specialists to suppress malpractice cases.

There actually should be a law protecting expert witnesses from this type of abuse. Also, the theory that expert testimony constitutes medical practice is completely preposterous. The AMA and other physician groups should not be allowed to get away with it. I’ve tried speaking up about this at some medical meetings, but I now have given up. Most doctors are completely convinced that anything that one can do to make life harder for plaintiffs is to their benefit. I think that patients and patient advocates need to speak up and contact their representatives in Congress and the state legislatures or the AMA is going to get it’s way.

To the writer:  Thanks for taking the time to express your thoughts on this important subject.  While I agree that patients and patient advocates need to speak out on this issue, I hope that you will do so, too.  As a physician, your observations and opinions will really help motivate legislators to action.