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Expert Witnesses Litigation Medical Malpractice

Preparing a Medical Witness for Deposition and Trial: A Different Approach

While the deposition testimony usually does not win the case, in a medical negligence matter, it can definitely lose it. The stakes for a physician today are higher than they have ever been. It is not an infrequent occurrence that any report to the Databank gets a review by both the State Board of Medical Examiners and any health insurer on whose panel the provider has privileges. Our clients deserve better.

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For the last 20 years, the standard of practice for preparing a medical witness in a medical negligence matter was to prepare the witness the day of or the day before the deposition, for one hour or two — and then move directly into the deposition. We don’t know whether it was a focus on the costs of preparation or the belief that physicians and health care providers in general, because of the nature of the training and the use of the Socratic Method, meant that they were more a natural witness. It could have even been the thought that the witness, a doctor, was too busy to spend time preparing for something as trivial as a negligence lawsuit. Or, perhaps, the witness was being unavailable to counsel because the doctor did not want to face the issue.

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