CASE STUDIES

The Qualifications of an Expert Physician

Henry was an English urologist who had trained in London. After his residency he moved to the U. S. where he had a long and distinguished career at a leading medical school. He was testifying as an expert witness in a mass tort case. He was not my witness. I was only observing the trial. His attorney was concerned that he wasn't board-certified and asked him about it early in his direct exam. Henry gave a long and complicated explanation – something about how the qualifications to get board certified kept rising. It may have taken a minute, although it felt like five minutes. It created a bigger problem than existed and it hurt his credibility. Most jurors don't care about board-certification, as long as the witness is otherwise well-qualified, and Henry was obviously well-qualified. At most, the board-certification issue warranted a two sentence explanation.