The number of lawsuits filed against emergency physicians is growing. The burden of dealing with these legal actions goes beyond the financial challenges of increased malpractice premiums. Other effects include time lost from work or personal time and the effects on the physician’s morale. A large majority of these lawsuits have little or no basis in fact.1 These groundless suits sometimes represent attempts to get a quick settlement from insurance companies eager to hold down costs.
In order to file a malpractice claim, most states require plaintiffs to have an opinion from an expert that malpractice has occurred. A number of these so-called experts are physicians who seem willing to make any statement, even if their statements are not consistent with the standard of care, to support a malpractice claim. These physicians can profit handsomely from their willingness give such testimony.
Alarmingly, a number of leaders in our specialty have chosen to supplement their income by giving “expert” testimony that is unfounded in current medical standards and practice.
AAEM has responded to suggestions by several members by creating this web site. It is designed to bring to light testimony by expert witnesses that is remarkable either because of its spurious nature or because it is particularly helpful to the emergency physician defendant. It is hoped that by publicizing such testimony, and the individuals who offer it, emergency physicians may find some measure of relief from the ongoing crisis.
How It Works
Members of AAEM are asked to submit cases in which expert witness testimony was remarkable enough to be publicized. Examples of such testimony may seem farfetched, unbelievable or just plain wrong. Other testimony may be succinct, insightful or particularly helpful. Cases are submitted to the AAEM Malpractice Task Force, which will review them and select those that seem to be good examples of remarkable testimony.
In order for a case to be considered, it should be closed and all documents for review must be in the public record. Those physicians whose testimony is selected to be posted will be contacted and offered an opportunity to respond to the posting.
Selected cases are listed below. Clicking on each case will link to a summary of each. Each case summary ends with links to court documents, testimony and other records that provide more detailed insight into the testimony in question.
How to Submit a Case
Emergency physicians who are aware of appropriate testimony are invited to submit cases for potential posting on the AAEM Remarkable Testimony/Actions website. They can be submitted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions should include
- A description of the case (can be in the body of the email);
- A description of why the case is remarkable (can be included in the body of the email);
- A description of the witness (can be included in the body of the email);
- Links to relevant court records;
- Electronic copies (as attachments) of reports or depositions. Copies should be in Word or .pdf format.