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.
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.
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
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 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.