We grant doctors a great deal of respect for their expertise. It takes years for a physician to become qualified to work with patients and they acquire a level of understanding about the practice of medicine that the rest of us will never have. Therefore, when doctors are called upon to testify in medical malpractice cases, their opinions can carry a lot of weight with juries and judges.
It would seem to make perfect sense to trust the assessment of doctors when they testify in court. Unfortunately, according to a retired surgeon, we may need to start casting a more skeptical eye on the testimony of doctors.
A startling article published by NPR contains an interview with a retired surgeon who says that he lied in court when asked about the quality of care that a colleague provided his patients. The colleague in question was being sued for malpractice by one of his patients who suffered a stroke and was left permanently disabled following a surgical procedure.
When on the stand, the retired surgeon stated that he knew of no instance when his colleague’s work was substandard. But in truth, the surgeon had found his colleague’s abilities questionable. Still, the surgeon covered for his colleague. Ultimately, the patient lost the case.
The retired surgeon now says that he regrets what he did. But he also says that providing cover for peers in court is part of the culture in the medical profession. In fact, he says that to do otherwise could make you a pariah among your fellow doctors.
The retired surgeon now works as an advocate trying to correct the courtroom status-quo, which stacks the deck against patients who seek compensation for the damage done by negligent doctors.
If what this doctor says is true, then it is even more important than you may have realized to have an experienced attorney when filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. A knowledgeable attorney can assess medical records and other pertinent evidence to build a case that gives you the best chance of receiving an appropriate settlement.
Source: National Public Radio, “ Doctor Confesses: I Lied To Protect Colleague In Malpractice Suit >,” Marshall Allen, Sept. 23, 2016