Can Your Expert Testify In A Medical Malpractice Case?

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When a patient sues his/her doctor for medical malpractice, in most cases the patient will have to have another doctor testify as an expert to establish the treating doctor’s fault.  In Rasor/Miller v. Northwest Hospitals LLC, the Arizona Supreme Court address what prerequisites the expert must have in order to provide an expert opinion.   Under Arizona statute, in order for a person to give expert testimony, that person must meet three qualifications; (1) If an specialists, the expert witness must be a specialist in the same field; (2) if the treating physician is board certified the witness must as well and (3) the expert must have during the year prior to the act giving rise to the lawsuit, had active clinical practice in the same healthcare profession as the defendant or be an instructor  in the same field.  Meaning that the Plaintiff’s expert must match the qualifications of the defendant AND must also actively practice in that field. In Rasor, the Plaintiff’s expert could not testify regarding the negligence of an ICU nurse, because during the one year prior to the alleged negligence act, the expert did not work as an ICU nurse, rather she picked up extra shifts as a house supervisor or the ICU, but did not work as an ICU nurse.

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