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St. Petersburg, Florida

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Bob Carroll
Bob Carroll
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Do Experts From The Other 49 States Give False Testimony?

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Foolish me – I thought the so-called “tort reform” effort in the Florida Legislature to restrict expert witnesses in medical malpractice cases to Florida doctors (or the chosen few who are certified as acceptable witnesses) was intended to dry-up the pool of experts willing to testify on behalf of injured patients. After all, if all potential medical experts had to come from the State of Florida or be certified the chances of getting doctors to speak freely about medical errors would certainly become miniscule.

It turns out that the doctors just want to be sure that the truth comes out in every case. They are convinced that out-of-state experts provide false testimony. After observing the testimony of hundreds of defendant doctors in Florida for over 35 years, I believe the best way to eliminate baloney on the witness stand would be to ban the testimony of the defendant physician and his local buddies. A very high percentage of these witnesses have significant problems with memory and accuracy.

Here is what the President of a local medical association writes to the St. Pete Times about the good intentions of the Florida-only legislation:

Hold out-of-state doctors accountable for their testimony

In the many years of tort reform, we have sought to make out-of-state physicians accountable for their testimony, just as all Florida licensed physicians are accountable. Physicians are held to a high standard through the number of years of education, experience and regulation. These same standards should also be used for other experts who come to Florida to testify. What I find alarming is that the editor would not see that false testimony hurts all Floridians, especially when there is no recourse to stop the action from happening again and again.

Bruce D. Shephard, M.D., president, Hillsborough County Medical Association, Tampa

Foolish me – I thought the so-called “tort reform” effort in the Florida Legislature to restrict expert witnesses in medical malpractice cases to Florida doctors (or the chosen few who are certified as acceptable witnesses) was intended to dry-up the pool of experts willing to testify on behalf of injured patients. After all, if all potential medical experts had to come from the State of Florida or be certified the chances of getting doctors to speak freely about medical errors would certainly become miniscule.

It turns out that the doctors just want to be sure that the truth comes out in every case. They are convinced that out-of-state experts provide false testimony. After observing the testimony of hundreds of defendant doctors in Florida for over 35 years, I believe the best way to eliminate baloney on the witness stand would be to ban the testimony of the defendant physician and his local buddies. A very high percentage of these witnesses have significant problems with memory and accuracy.

Here is what the President of a local medical association writes to the St. Pete Times about the good intentions of the Florida-only legislation:

Hold out-of-state doctors accountable for their testimony

In the many years of tort reform, we have sought to make out-of-state physicians accountable for their testimony, just as all Florida licensed physicians are accountable. Physicians are held to a high standard through the number of years of education, experience and regulation. These same standards should also be used for other experts who come to Florida to testify. What I find alarming is that the editor would not see that false testimony hurts all Floridians, especially when there is no recourse to stop the action from happening again and again.

Bruce D. Shephard, M.D., president, Hillsborough County Medical Association, Tampa