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June 3, 1893

THE EXPERT WITNESS.Read before the Michigan State Medical Society May 11-12, 1893.

Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1893;XX(22):601-603. doi:10.1001/jama.1893.02420490005001b

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An eminent jurist divided the medical witness into "the liar, the d——liar, and the expert witness." As much as the expert medical witness may be abused, or abuse his privilege—he has his use. Certain cases affecting the life and property of an individual, the sanity or insanity of a subject, the clearing up of mysterious deaths, and cases of poisoning require medical knowledge for their proper elucidation. Physicians from their special knowledge are likely to be called on at any time to give evidence in cases of murder, suicide, infanticide, criminal abortion, accidental death, rape, drowning and numerous other cases. But there is no class so likely to be called on the witness stand as the surgeon, unless it should be the expert neurologist. This makes some knowledge of legal medicine a necessity.

Medical experts have been subjects of much severe and bitter criticism from several causes. 1. There has

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