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Medical Malpractice and Expert Witnesses

No medical malpractice case can be successful unless an expert witness, i.e., a practitioner in substantially the same specialty as the defendant, testifies to what the defendant should have done, actually did, and how the latter deviated from acceptable medical practice. For example, a doctor skilled in pregnancy diagnosis and care must testify about the acceptable practice methods, and failures to meet them, in a case involving undiagnosed pregnancy and premature childbirth. Complications of premature birth require expert testimony, too. Legal evidence rules control who will be deemed an expert.

Federal Rule of Evidence 702

According to Rule 702. Testimony by Experts:

If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise, if (1) the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.

Expert Witnesses in Birth Trauma Cases

In the birth trauma area the plaintiff’s medical doctor testifying about a cause-effect relationship between the care rendered and the alleged injury must be prepared to testify with professional certainty that the irreversible brain damage to an infant could have been prevented with proper care.

Of course, these arguments ignore the following facts:

  • EFM is available in almost every hospital in the U.S.
  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists ("ACOG") publishes educational pamphlets for patients emphasizing the benefits of EFM.
  • About 83% of the women who gave birth in 1997 had electronic fetal monitoring, a 22% increase since 1989

Our law firm represents disadvantaged and injured persons and their families across the United States. The firm provides trial services in courtrooms before judges and juries on a recurrent basis, and is recognized by its peers as one of the nation’s most aggressive trial practices. The firm’s verdicts and cases include dozens of million dollar, several multimillion dollar verdicts, and one verdict for more than $1.2 billion.

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