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The scope of this paper carries us to the gate of medical jurisprudence, and a little beyond, but I do not enter far its inviting domain. I deal largely with the rights of physicians and surgeons when subpœnaed as expert witnesses, and with the duties incumbent upon them as members of a learned and honored profession when they are called upon to testify as medical experts.
Medical witnesses have been extravagantly eulogized and unmeasurably condemned by courts and law writers. They merit both the eulogium and the condemnation. When they traffic in their evidence and appear as hired advocates the condemnation is just; when they appear as members of a great and enlightened profession, to aid in the administration of the law, and testify conscientiously, no tribute is undeserved.
The weight of medical expert evidence depends upon two qualities: 1, the skill, learning and experience of the witness; and 2,
KERR WS. THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF MEDICAL WITNESSES. JAMA. 1895;XXIV(2):47–52. doi:10.1001/jama.1895.02430020011001e
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