Kansas And Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Reminds Radiologists Of Their Ethical Obligations When Testifying

Professionals from all walks of life can lend their expertise to the judicial system as an expert witness. In Kansas and Missouri, as well as in other courts across the country, courts allow experts to give evidence about matters of which they have superior knowledge that the average person, i.e. juror. The expert must be qualified to give an opinion based upon their academic study and practical training. In fact, anyone can be an expert witness and the expert witness responsibility is to educate the jury or judge about a topic.  To prove that point “Mona Lisa Vito” from the comedy My Cousin Vinny comes immediately to mind. Ms. Vito, however, was not bound by ethical rules as are professional licensees. The failure to adhere to the ethical standards of a profession when testifying is cause for professional discipline. Great care must be given, therefore, to the rules when testifying. If you must contact a professional licensing attorney if you are facing professional discipline based on testimony, you have given in court.

The American College of Radiologists (ACR) is a professional organization to which licensed radiologists belong. The ACR published the ethical rules a radiologist must follow when performing her duties. The ACR also promulgated ethical considerations for radiologists when testifying as an expert witness. The radiologist expert witness must review these rules before testifying. It is advisable that the radiologist digests these rules soon after they have been retained to testify. Learning the rules early in the process will avoid ethical questions during the discovery phase of the case, such as a deposition or during the trial itself.

Testifying requires bearing in mind several considerations the ACR believes is necessary to uphold the ethical standards of the profession. Even though the expert witness is retained by one of the parties to a case, the ACR requires the radiologist to remain fair and impartial at all times. The ACR stated its desire to have unbiased witnesses testify. Impartial witnesses lend instant credibility to the expert’s opinion. Additionally, the radiologist must be familiar with the standard of care in the community, if the case involves medical liability, such as in a malpractice case.  Additionally, the expert must review all of the necessary materials to be well educated on the subject matter which is the topic of the testimony. The radiologist should review all original copies of images to be certain that the image is the highest quality available. If not, the radiologist must review clean and clear copies of the original.

One of the duties of an expert witness is to provide an opinion and be fully prepared to defend their position.  Consequently, the ACR demands that the expert must make certain the opinion is scientifically valid. Additionally, the opinion must be one that is capable of peer review and has been tested. Most importantly, the radiologist must correctly apply the scientific theory correctly to the facts of the case.  The expert has an obligation to testify about his or her limitations on their personal knowledge as well as the general acceptance in the medical community of her opinion.

Compensation of the expert is always a live issue. Compensation must be reasonable and reflect the time and effort put into the case. Testifying on a contingent basis, i.e. getting paid only if the party who retained the expert is successful is unequivocally unethical.  ACR members must also be aware that peers may review their testimony from the ACR.

A Professional Licensing Attorney Understands The Role Of An Expert Witness

Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger is dedicated to defending you if you face professional discipline. You should contact Attorney Sanger immediately if you received notice that you face professional discipline. Call Attorney Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule a consultation.