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August 9, 1976

Expert Medical Testimony

Author Affiliations

University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
From the Department of Neurology, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati.

JAMA. 1976;236(6):569. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270060019019

BURTON L. Wise1 has noted the need to restructure the testimony of expert medical witnesses in courts of law in the United States. The main change proposed is that experts testify as unbiased witnesses reporting to the court, the material to be used by one or both sides as they see fit. This proposal is so obviously reasonable and equitable that it is a wonder it has not been pursued wherever civilization is improving.

It is a question with which I have been concerned during my entire career. Shortly after finishing postgraduate training in neurology and psychiatry, I was among those instrumental in founding a local society of neurology and psychiatry. Discomfited by the beating that truth was taking in courts of law, to say nothing of the humiliation of the profession and especially psychiatry in the press, several of us drew up a resolution to embody the very