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Can You Bring a Retired Medical Expert to the Stand

Is there a danger of bringing in a medical expert who has retired from the practice of medicine?

Danger of Bringing Retired Medical Expert

The answer is yes, there is a risk associated with bringing in a retired medical expert. In a medical malpractice case you are required by law to have a medical expert confirm:

1. There was wrongdoing

2. The wrongdoing caused the injury

3. Such injury is significant or permanent

When medical experts come in to testify, they will be asked many questions about their credentials. One of the credentials that will be questioned is whether the doctor is actively practicing in the state of New York. If the doctor says, he is not actively practicing and that he has been retired for many years, then it is a risk or danger to the party that has brought in this medical expert.

Retired Medical Expert could still be Knowledgeable

However, one of the things to note is that just because a doctor has retired from the practice of medicine does not mean he is not knowledgeable, it does not mean he is not an expert in his field of medicine. Nevertheless, it does mean that this doctor could be slightly out of touch; it does mean that this doctor would not have performed the particular surgical procedure under question in a few years.

Therefore, it does mean that such a retired doctor may not be up to date on the most recent techniques or the advanced techniques, even though he may have read about them in medical journals. How can such a doctor provide testimony and conclusions about another doctor violating basic standards of care, because of something the other doctor did or did not do?

Same Qualifications, Experience, and Currently Practicing

It is critical in every single medical malpractice case, to try to acquire a medical expert who has the same type of qualifications as the doctors you are suing. You want to get a doctor who is board certified in the same field of medicine. You want to pick up a doctor and bring him over to your side to testify who does the same type of procedures, and who has the same level of experience, if not more.

Convincing a retired medical doctor to support your claim is certainly possible, and you can show to the jury that this doctor is well published, well regarded, and an expert in his field of medicine. However, when the defense attorney gets up to cross-examine this doctor, he is going to ask him if he is still practicing and when was the last time he performed these procedures.

It will be alarming and devastating when the doctor admits that he has not been in the operating room for several years or not been reading and interpreting x-rays for a said number of years either. The jury will immediately perceive such a doctor to be out of touch, even though he may still be very knowledgeable and may be on a high plateau in his field of medicine. Despite this, this well rounded former practicing doctor will probably be the first person to inform you that they are retired and their word may not mean as much as someone on active medical duty.

Therefore, it is always preferable to have a doctor who is experienced in the same area of medicine as the doctor whom you are suing, and someone who is not retired.

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