Extent and determinants of physician participation in expert witness testimony

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: In the recent past, law firms have had difficulties in finding physicians to review malpractice cases and serve as expert witnesses. Over the last few years, however, many clinicians have had a decline in their income, causing some physicians to seek alternative sources of revenue such as the review of legal cases. The purpose of this study was to qualify and quantify the extent of physician participation in legal activities. Methods: We conducted a survey of 1,000 Maryland internal medicine physicians. The survey consisted of 24 items designed to collect information on demographics, practice patterns, income variables, and participation in legal review. Results : Twenty-four percent of our respondents reported engaging in expert witness testimony/review to supplement their incomes. Engagement was significantly associated with internal medicine sub-specialty practice, academic practice, a self-perception that personal income was higher than the income of colleagues, and being in practice for 11 to 20 years. Economic factors were not found to be associated with engaging in these activities. Conclusions: Physician participation in legal review and expert witness activities is significant and appears not to be determined by economic factors. Both the positive effects of such participation on the legal system and the potential ethical concerns require further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)444-449
Number of pages6
JournalSouthern medical journal
Volume98
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2005

Keywords

  • Expert witness testimony
  • Legal review
  • Physician income

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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