In many medical malpractice cases that go to trial here in Oregon and elsewhere, other doctors might be brought in to testify on behalf of either side. Most people involved in these cases expect that those testifying will be truthful, but one doctor says that is not always the case. He recently came forward to confess that he once lied on the stand to cover up for a doctor who he actually thought was capable of making harmful surgical errors.
The patient in question suffered a debilitating stroke during an operation. The out-of-state doctor was called to provide testimony regarding the surgical expertise of his partner and colleague. The problem was that he had doubts about the other doctor’s abilities since patients had suffered injuries at his partner’s hands.
However, the South Dakota doctor confessed that even though he had reservations, he supported his partner in that trial. He claims that he did so because of the culture that exists in the medical profession that frowns upon another doctor “squealing” on a colleague. Ultimately, when he retired and what he did could no longer come back on him, he came forward. His revelations did have repercussions, however. The former doctor says that he cannot even be a patient in the area where he lives.
If this kind of pressure exists in South Dakota, it could also exist here in Oregon. This is just one reason why it is crucial to involve an attorney in a medical malpractice claim. The evidence of substandard care and negligence needs to outweigh any testimony from peers. Many surgeons are good at their jobs, but that does not mean that they are incapable of making surgical errors, and the evidence needs to show that in order for a plaintiff to be successful.
Source: npr.org, “Doctor Confesses: I Lied To Protect Colleague In Malpractice Suit“, Marshall Allen, Sept. 23, 2016