Expert Witness Testimony
- Expert witness testimony in the US has contributed to courtroom confusion regarding the practitioner’s duties & responsibilities; it’s led to an attempt to put some uniform recipe into all prescribing and it’s neglected the patients.
- Many experts are hired because they take gray and turn it into black & white, while everyone in clinical care knows that very rarely is a problem black & white.
- Some experts become subjective; then the standard is objective. We can get lost in that.
- Once a precedent has been accepted as a kind of standard, it becomes something people return to; sometimes resulting in having to live with bad science and bad statements.
- Many medical experts don’t really know what our roles are. I can certainly be an advocate for the person who’s hired me. But when we’re in court the challenge is to remember it’s not who paid you, it’s not who asked you to come, it’s the questions you’re asked and the information you share with the jury or the judge.
- In the courtroom it is artificial with rules of evidence or hearing rules, or boundaries. The people who are there other than the prescribing practitioner, none have seen the patient. That makes it particularly challenging when they look backward and try to apply today’s standards to yesterday’s boundaries and yesterday’s tools.