Legal Pearls: Expert Testimony – “Do As I Say, Not As I Do?”
Ann W. Latner, JD
An imaging report revealed that a 56-year-old man had a gas distended transverse. Based on the radiological results and the clinical picture, the physician suspected that he had an early infection of the gallbladder.
The physician performed laparoscopic surgery to remove the patient’s gallbladder. Because the patient began to improve, the physician did not order imaging of the patient’s abdomen in the days following surgery. Four days after the surgery, the patient’s colon perforated, resulting in various complications.
At trial, 2 surgical expert witnesses testified that the standard of care required serial radiography of the patient’s abdomen after surgery. The physician introduced an expert who testified that imaging tests were only necessary if the patient was not showing signs of progress, however, the expert admitted that he would have ordered the tests.
(Discussion on next page)