As a licensed physician, becoming the subject of an investigation by the state licensing board will likely be a difficult time for you. Someone like a former patient may accuse you of improper care or another form of malpractice. If you know this is not the case, you may have an expert witness appear before the board to testify on your behalf.
There are standards for who qualifies under the law to testify as an expert witness. You should be aware of these standards so you can find the right person to speak for you during a disciplinary board hearing.
The general standards for testifying
According to Pennsylvania law, an expert witness needs to demonstrate competency to testify. For instance, if you need a witness to testify about neurology, your witness should demonstrate he or she has the proper education and training as well as the knowledge and experience to be a credible expert in that field. This includes any subspecialty you want your witness to talk about.
Testifying about medical matters
When it comes to testifying on medical matters such as the cause of a physical injury or illness, your witness should have an unrestricted license to practice medicine in any state or Washington D.C. or at least acquire a temporary license from the state board. Your witness should also be an active practitioner or had retired within the last five years.
Testifying on the standard of care
If your witness is going to testify on standard of care issues, knowledge and experience is once again important. Whoever testifies on your behalf should have a strong familiarity with the standard of care that applies to your case. The witness should also practice either in the same specialty and subspecialty as yourself or in a field with a very similar standard of care.
Testimony from a non-physician
In some circumstances, you may be able to have somebody who is not a physician testify for you. If you need testimony for a matter other than the standard of care, your expert may testify if he or she has the right education, experience and training about the matters at hand. The exact standards to qualify an expert will vary depending on your case, so it is crucial to review the state’s requirements ahead of time.