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July 1968

Medical Testimony Without Bias

Arch Otolaryngol. 1968;88(1):98. doi:10.1001/archotol.1968.00770010100020

PERSONAL injury lawsuits comprise the bulk of cases in our overcrowded lawcourts. The medical issues are often the crucial factor in settling these claims. The impartiality and integrity of the physician expert witness determines to a large extent, the quality of justice.

Our legal system is based on the right of trial by combat between opposing attorneys who have the duty to present the disputed issues in a light most favorable to their respective clients. The attorneys are supposed to be biased and partisan in favor of their clients, but they are supposed to be honest, able, and conscientious. Fortunately the great majority are, and very few are venal and unscrupulous.

While the adversary system has proved to be an effective means for achieving justice it is foreign to the education and experience of the average physician who finds himself repelled by it. Nevertheless, as a professional man with special

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