The Pervasive Problem of Securing Expert Medical Testimony for Injured Malpractice Plaintiffs
Medical malpractice cases are complex, often hinging on complicated medical evidence. These cases require extensive expert opinion and testimony that can only be given by qualified, practicing physicians. However, obtaining this expert testimony is more difficult than one might imagine. To the detriment of innocent medical negligence victims, a ‘conspiracy of silence’ frequently threatens to interfere with a plaintiff’s ability to secure invaluable expert testimony.
This dangerous phenomenon occurs for a number of reasons. In many areas, the medical community is tight-knit. Many Cleveland-area physicians know one another and have a lengthy professional history, potentially having worked together since medical school. Professional relationships and camaraderie create a strong resistance to speaking up on negligence, which many physicians perceive as akin to throwing a colleague under the bus. Furthermore, a physician may fear that testifying against another doctor would increase the likelihood that a colleague would testify against him or her in the event of a malpractice lawsuit.
Medical professionals are also hesitant to testify against medical establishments, such as hospitals, clinics, and similar institutions, on account of future career considerations. Medical institutions are large organizations, with even larger networks, and can be a major employer of medical professionals. Physicians may be reluctant to testify against such an institution in a malpractice lawsuit because doing so could negatively impact their future employment prospects.
Hospitals sometimes are very direct, strictly forbidding doctors who work there from serving as expert witnesses, unless they are defending another doctor or hospital.
Professional societies also can affect a physician’s willingness to help victims of medical negligence. Some such societies ostracize or even kick out physicians who testify on behalf of plaintiffs. That means no more invitations to conferences or access to other benefits. Although such societies typically claim to go after doctors on “either side,” in practice they only go after doctors who testify for injured victims. That isn’t surprising, since only members of these societies can initiate a proceeding to strip another member of their membership, and only doctors are members.
Unfortunately, this culture of silence and fear does not just hinder an injured individual’s ability to obtain truthful, expert medical testimony. It also has the effect of strengthening the defense, as physicians are quick to band together in defense of their colleagues and in support of medical establishments. Doctors and medical institutions already have weighty defense teams and insurance companies backing them, leaving injured plaintiffs who do not have competent legal representation at risk.
Through substantial experience in the medical malpractice field, The Eisen Law Firm has developed an extensive network of trusted, reliable expert physicians who believe in standing up to medical malpractice, in order to help innocent victims seek accountability. If you have been injured on account of medical negligence, trust an established, exclusive Cleveland medical malpractice attorney. Call us at 216-687-0900 or contact us online today.
About The Eisen Law Firm
The Eisen Law Firm, a Cleveland, Ohio law firm focused exclusively on medical malpractice law and wrongful death, has significant experience and success representing victims suffering a wide range of medical malpractice injuries, including birth injuries, brain and spinal cord injuries, surgical and hospital mistakes, diagnosis and treatment errors and other matters. The firm is located at 1300 East 9th Street, Suite 1200, Cleveland OH 44114. Additional information about The Eisen Law Firm and attorney Brian N. Eisen may be obtained by calling 216-687-0900 or visiting the firm’s website at www.MalpracticeOhio.com.