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CAP Home > CAP Reference Resources and Publications > CAP TODAY > CAP TODAY 2006 Archive > Expert witness guidelines for the specialty of pathology
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  Expert witness guidelines for the specialty
  of pathology

title

 

 

 

cap today

 

 

July 2006
Feature Story

Ed Finkel

arrow Policy synopsis: Pathologists who provide expert testimony in litigation or administrative proceedings must: a) be qualified to provide the testimony that they give, and b) testify as fairly and objectively as possible. This policy sets forth essential professional qualifications and criteria for fulfilling the role of expert witness.

arrow Policy: The testimony of a pathologist in a medical malpractice case or other legal proceedings is likely to help determine the standard of medical care to which a defendant pathologist or other physician will be required to adhere. It may also play a critical role in guiding judges and juries. For all these reasons, it is essential that pathologists who testify as experts: a) be qualified to provide the testimony that they give and b) testify as fairly and objectively as possible.

arrow Qualifications: A pathologist who provides expert testimony in litigation or administrative proceedings should meet the following criteria:

  • Be licensed to practice medicine or osteopathy in a legal jurisdiction within the United States;
  • Be certified by a recognized certifying body in pathology; and
  • Be in active practice of pathology for three years immediately before the date of the incident or conduct that is the subject of the testimony.

arrow Fairness and objectivity: In providing and offering to provide expert testimony, a pathologist should meet the following criteria:

  • The expert witness should possess current experience and ongoing knowledge in the area in which he or she is asked to testify.
  • The expert witness should be willing to submit the transcripts of depositions and testimony to peer review.
  • The expert witness should not accept compensation that is contingent on the outcome of litigation.
  • The expert witness should not provide expert medical testimony that is false, misleading, or without medical foundation. The key to this process is a thorough review of available and appropriate medical records and contemporaneous literature concerning the case being examined. After this process is completed, the expert’s opinion should reflect the state of medical knowledge at the time of the incident.
  • The expert witness should review the medical facts in a thorough, fair, and objective manner and should not exclude any relevant information to create a view favoring the plaintiff or the defendant.
  • A pathologist should not engage in advertising or solicit employment as an expert witness where such advertising or solicitation contains representations about the physician’s qualifications, experience, or background that are false or deceptive.

Adopted March 2006


Ed Finkel is a writer in Evanston, Ill.
 

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