It looks glamorous on our television screens each week: Physicians in a seat of authority in the courtroom, pointing the finger at the bad guy in a calm, cool style. They are Matlock’s right-hand men and women, Arthur Branch’s buddies. But in real-life courtrooms from New York City to Atlanta, Las Vegas to Miami, the drama surrounding expert witness services is tame—until the physician exits the courthouse doors.
When it comes to taking the stand, the American Medical Association is in favor of it, and actually encourages members to serve as impartial expert witnesses. The AMA is, however, on the record in favor of medical associations punishing those physicians who violate pre-set ethical standards. In a nutshell, it considers expert witness activities to be the same as practicing medicine, so what you say on the stand is subject to peer review. Individual medical societies put out statements using different words, but they boil down to similar sentiments. more »