AM News

FSMB issues guidance

June 28, 2004.

Fraudulent testimony given by medical expert witnesses should be considered unprofessional conduct by medical boards, according to a resolution passed by the Federation of State Medical Boards.

The organization's house of delegates in May approved a resolution that modified a federation guide. It now states that false, fraudulent or deceptive expert witness testimony by a physician should constitute unprofessional conduct. The guide is used to help states adopt new medical practice acts or amend existing laws.

"It considers fraudulent testimony to be unprofessional and something that could lead to licensure action," said Dale Austin, senior vice president and chief operating officer of the Texas-based federation.

In the past, boards have considered actions against doctors for expert testimony under more general disciplinary guidelines. The new resolution, proposed by the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine, comes as some states are taking a closer look at such testimony.

Last year the North Carolina Medical Board suspended for one year the medical license of a neurosurgeon who served as an expert witness in a malpractice suit.

The California Medical Assn. said the Medical Board of California should discipline doctors who knowingly give misleading or false expert testimony. The association voiced concerns on witness testimony to the California Attorney General, who in April issued an opinion saying a physician who knowingly provides false or misleading expert testimony can be subject to discipline by the medical board.

--Damon Adams

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