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February 21, 1977

Expert Medical Testimony

Author Affiliations

San Francisco

JAMA. 1977;237(8):765. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270350025004

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To the Editor.—  The exact location and identification of the two statements regarding expert medical testimony in The Journal are important. Dr Aring's contribution is labeled "commentary," while that of Mr Richard T. Bergen, the AMA legal counsel, is presented on the editorial page. This would imply that Mr Bergen's comment has the imprimatur of the AMA. If so, it is unfortunate that the position of the AMA on this matter is determined by their attorney. If not, the impression of official sanction of the position should be corrected.Mr Bergen presents a defense of the adversary system of litigation. While this could be debated extensively, the proposal regarding expert medical testimony is not necessarily an attack on that system. However, medicine is not, and should not be, an adversary system. Clearly, there may be honest differences of opinion among physicians, but these differences are often minimal unless exaggerated or