How can I find a doctor willing to testify against another doctor?
It’s not as difficult as you might think. What you’re talking about is a medical malpractice case, where a patient who has been injured by sub-standard medical care files a lawsuit against the doctor or other health care provider who is responsible for the harm.
The injured patient (called the plaintiff) usually proves his or her case by retaining an expert medical witness who examines all aspects of the case and offers an opinion on the standard of medical care that was appropriate -- what a prudent, similarly trained doctor would have done in terms of administering care under the circumstances -- and how the doctor fell short of meeting that standard (how the doctor committed medical negligence, in other words). In fact, in many states, the plaintiff must consult with such an expert and have the expert offer a preliminary opinion that the treating doctor was negligent (and this opinion must accompany the initial complaint).
So, who are these medical experts? They’re usually doctors who specialize in the same area of medicine in which the defendant doctor practices, and typically the medical expert has practiced in or is familiar with the (geographic) medical community in which the malpractice allegedly occurred.
If you’ve filed a medical malpractice lawsuit, chances are you’ve got a lawyer, and if your lawyer has experience handling medical malpractice cases, it’s a safe bet that he or she is also part of an informal network of medical expert witnesses and other med mal attorneys. So, if your lawyer doesn’t have the right medical expert for your case already in mind, you can rest assured that the right expert witness is just a few phone calls away.
by: David Goguen, J.D.