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Urology. 2014 Apr;83(4):704-8. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2013.11.045.

Expert witness testimony in urology malpractice litigation.

Author information

1
Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ. Electronic address: psunaryo@gmail.com.
2
Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ; Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ.
3
Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ.
4
Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ; Center for Skull Base and Pituitary Surgery, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ; Department of Neurological Surgery, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the credentials of urologists choosing to testify as expert witnesses. As health care reform has become an increasingly important topic in national debate, medical malpractice and related issues have come to the forefront of topics for discussion by the medical community. Physicians are often recruited to testify as expert witnesses in malpractice cases. Defining what constitutes an expert in this setting has been an area of controversy.

METHODS:

The Westlaw legal database was searched for medical malpractice litigation. Data regarding number of years of experience and practice setting were obtained for urologists using private practice and hospital listings, academic faculty profiles, and state medical licensing databases. Scholarly impact, as measured by the h-index, was calculated by the Scopus database.

RESULTS:

Plaintiff expert witnesses were found to have slightly more years of experience vs defendant expert witnesses (35.7 vs 32.2 years, P = .01), but had a lower h-index (6.8 vs 10.2, P = .03), were less likely to practice in the academic setting (39% vs 60%, P = .001), and were more likely to testify multiple times.

CONCLUSION:

Urologists testifying for plaintiffs and defendants both had over 30 years of experience on average, with those in the latter having slightly less experience. Defendant witnesses, however, had greater scholarly impact and were more likely to practice in an academic setting. Organizations such as the American Urological Association may wish to re-evaluate guidelines on expert witness testimony, particularly regarding those who testify frequently.

Comment in

PMID:
24680438
DOI:
10.1016/j.urology.2013.11.045
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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