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Article
December 4, 1954

MEDICAL EXPERT TESTIMONY

JAMA. 1954;156(14):1332. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.02950140032011
Abstract

Although there are earlier references, both historical and biblical, to the utilization of medical knowledge in relation to public health and to legal matters, the definitive connection between law and medicine may perhaps be dated from the publication of the Codes of Justinian, about 530 A. D. These contained provisions requiring expression of medical opinion in certain legal cases. Between 1500 and 1525, almost all of the principalities and other subdivisions of Central Europe adopted laws requiring the utilization of physicians when their investigations could be helpful to the court in cases of violent death, personal injury, pretended pregnancy, etc.

Today, justice is dependent to some extent on medical evidence in about half the cases brought to appellate courts in the United States. Every trial is an adversary procedure. One party wins, another loses. In theory, in all actions, it is the truth that is sought. It is obvious that

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