This plaintiff’s hired gun blew up in their faces:

Testifying for the plaintiff was Dr. Chadwick Smith, professor of arthritic surgery at the University of Southern California and a world-renowned practitioner and expert in orthopedic surgery.

“The standard of care was not met,” Dr. Smith had said under oath “This patient is much worse after the operation.”

Dr. Smith testified in court under questioning from Fitzgibbons that he had been paid $5,000 to testify as an expert witness for a half day at the trial Friday morning. Dr. Smith also admitted to never having visited with Mooney as a patient or having read Dr. Clark’s deposition. And, while terming the operation Dr. Clark performed on Mooney as “outdated”, Dr. Clark also admitted the procedure was still being performed by surgeons.

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  • Anonymous

    Which is why it’s bad business to hire a crappy expert.

    As to the claim of him being a “hired gun”, how many of you would testify for a plaintiff for free?

  • Anonymous

    Unless a medical decision would be obvious to a layman, it’s required that expert witnesses testify for BOTH the plaintiff and defendant in malpractice actions.

    An example of obvious would be surgery on the wrong leg.

    If this orthopedic expert witness was “crappy” that’s reflective of the pre-trial management of the plaintiff’s counsel.

  • Anonymous

    Reading the news report, it’s noted that the defendant surgeon had TWO expert witnesses testify.

    Why are they not characterized as “hired guns?”

  • Anonymous

    They are ALL hired guns. Anybody but an idiot (and a lawyer) would realize if you pay for someone’s testimony there will be inherent bias. A good argument for health courts with nonbiased experts.

  • Anonymous

    Our current court system is a joke when it claims that med mal cases are decided based on a “breach of standard of care”

    a couple of hired gun experts do NOT define a standard. To define a standard takes a community of medical doctors.

    For example, when the ACOG, comprised of some 15,000 ob/gyn doctors, concluded that cerebral palsy is not caused by labor/delivery procedures, THAT is a standard. Yet courts still use single hired gun experts to come into their court with their personal biases. What a joke.

    The court system is a joke, and I’m tired of this blatant lie being spread that its about “standards” of care. It has nothing to do with standards and EVERYTHING to do with a hired gun’s “expert” opinion. Those are not even close to the same thing.

  • Anonymous

    “As to the claim of him being a “hired gun”, how many of you would testify for a plaintiff for free?”

    I would prefer to lather up my private parts with fish parts and have wild animals feed on me than testify for a plaintiff’s attorney. When will you sharks realize we detest this unfair system?

  • Anonymous

    So how will it become more fair if “good” doctors like yourself won’t testify?

    How will people actually injured by malpractice recover? Or do such people simply not exist?

  • Anonymous

    “The court system is a joke, and I’m tired of this blatant lie being spread about that its about “standards” of care. It has nothing to do with standards and EVERYTHING to do with a hired gun’s “expert” opinion. Those are not even close to the same thing.”

    On the contrary.

    “In a few obvious cases, as where the surgeon amputates the wrong limb, expert testimony is not required. Otherwise, expert medical testimony is usually required to establish the medical standard of care and if the plaintiff furnishes no such testimony, or it is inadequate to show the standard, the judge will direct a verdict for the defendant.” (Torts and Compensation, Third Ed., Dobbs and Hayden, 1997)

    Thus expert medical testimony is required to establish the standard of care. Said differently, the standard of care is what the medical experts say it is in the venue of that sitting court. The ACOG standards or that of any other professional body or treatise are only relevant if presented by an expert witness in court testimony.

    This is why competent expert witnesses are crucial to both the plaintiff and the defendant.

    In the subject case, the defendant orthopedic surgeon had better expert witnesses.

    Is this a good system? Is there a better way? I favor No-Fault professional panels a la workman’s compensation, combined with a better effort on the part of the medical community to cull out the 1 to 3% imcompetent physicians.

    By the way, I’m an Ob/Gyn, I have been sued, and my name is in the NPDB, along with everyone else.

  • Anonymous

    Workman’s comp doesn’t have professional panels, it has political appointees for judges.

    The main problem with the no-fault system is who is going to fund it. Still private insurers? That will only work if one incorporates universal health care of some sort.

    No fault will actually cost more than the current system.

  • Anonymous

    Read my post again. TWO DUELING EXPERTS DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN ESTABLISHMENT OF A “STANDARD” OF CARE.

    Like I said, a “standard” can only be set by a community of doctors, not 3 isolated guys dueling in a courtroom.

    Thats not a “standard” thats a “personal opinion” debate and nothing more.

  • Anonymous

    There’s a difference between a standard of care established by a professional body such as the published ACOG practice standards, or a commonly performed procedure, or a “learned treatise” such as Hurst’s Heart or Speroff’s Gynecologic Endocrinology and an opinion of the applicable standard of care presented by an expert witness at trial.

    Obviously, in a perfect world, there would be no difference between the two. But this is not the perfect world. For better or for worse, one can’t simply submit page 272 of William’s Obstetrics text and be done with any malpractice action.

    A “community of doctors” can establish a standard of care and an individual doctor can adopt that standard in her own practice but at trial in a malpractice action the applicable
    standard still must be argued.

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