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Your case involves a surgical error. Is it Ok to bring in a pediatrician as your expert?

 

A: You could.
The doctor is licensed to practice in New York.
He’s board certified as a pediatrician.

Should you?
Of course not.
Why not?

If your case involves claims of surgical errors made by a surgeon, then it’s a really good idea to have a surgeon as your expert.

The jury will not appreciate you bringing in a medical expert of another specialty to testify about the standard of care in another specialty. That doctor may theoretically know what the standards are, but that doctor will get destroyed on cross-examination.

“Doctor Jones, I understand you are a pediatrician?”
“You take care of children, right?”
“You see patients in the office and sometimes in the hospital?”
“In your pediatric residency training program you did not perform surgery, correct?”
“In your career as a children’s doctor, you never, ever, perform surgery, right?”
“In fact, you have not done surgery in 25 years.”

“If you had a patient who required surgery, you would not be the one to perform it, right?”
“You would have a board certified surgeon come in to perform the surgery.”
“You do not attend surgery conferences to keep you up to date on the latest advances in surgery.”

“You did not do a 7 year surgical residency training program, correct?”
“The last time you were in an operating room was 25 years ago in medical school.”
“You’d agree that a doctor who performs this surgical procedure 10 times per week for the last 15 years would have a better understanding how to do this procedure than you would, correct?”
“You would agree that if a patient needed a heart transplant, you would not be the doctor the patient would call.”
If your case involves claims of surgical error, you need a well-qualified surgeon to come in and explain that he does this exact procedure often. He would explain in detail why he believes there were departures from good care. A pediatrician, or any other type of specialty besides surgery, just won't cut it with the jury.