A hired-gun witness can be exposed by a good liability defense attorney

LETTER — Posted April 17, 2006

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Regarding "Medical community holds answer to problem of rogue expert witnesses" (Letters, Feb. 6): Many doctors conveniently blame the malpractice situation on out-of-state plaintiffs' experts-for-hire who come to trial and testify against wrongly accused defendant doctors. The party line goes that if we can restrict them from coming in the state by requiring certificates or licensing, the malpractice climate will improve.

The assumption involved in this fallacious reasoning is that only out-of-state plaintiff experts-for-hire stretch the truth or outright lie. Obviously no defense expert would do so, as they stand for truth, justice and the American way. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I have reviewed many defense depositions from both in-state and out-of-state experts that leave me wondering on what planet do they practice. A good defense attorney should be able to devour a plaintiff expert who is way off base and expose him as a hired gun when he gives obviously absurd opinions. To blame the problem on a bunch of plaintiff experts-for-hire is ridiculous.

Lee Fischer, MD, West Palm Beach, Fla.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2006/04/17/edlt0417.htm.

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