N.C. medical board suspends physician's license over expert testimony
NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Jan. 12, 2004
The North Carolina Medical Board has suspended for one year the medical license of neurosurgeon Gary Lustgarten, MD, whose case brought national attention to the issue of expert witness testimony.
In 1998, Dr. Lustgarten gave testimony as a medical expert in a malpractice suit brought against two doctors in North Carolina who cared for a young man with a brain condition who died. The case was settled, but one of the doctors filed a complaint against Dr. Lustgarten.
The medical board found that Dr. Lustgarten, who practiced in Florida, had engaged in unprofessional conduct by misstating facts and the appropriate standard of care in North Carolina. In July 2002, the board revoked his license. Dr. Lustgarten appealed.
Wake County (N.C.) Superior Court Judge Donald W. Stephens reversed most of the board's grounds for disciplining Dr. Lustgarten. But he agreed with one of the board's findings, saying Dr. Lustgarten's testimony that a doctor in the case had falsified medical records was not protected opinion, and sent that issue back to the board.
The board on Nov. 21, 2003, conducted a disciplinary hearing on that issue and suspended Dr. Lustgarten's license for one year.
Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2004/01/12/prbf0112.htm.