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November 1969

Doctor in the Courtroom

Arch Otolaryngol. 1969;90(5):659. doi:10.1001/archotol.1969.00770030661026

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THE physician, inexperienced in courtroom demeanor, may adversely affect the jury, regardless of the medical aspects of his testimony. The Law Department of the American Medical Association has prepared a pamphlet: "Do's and Don't's for the Medical Witness" as a useful guide for the physician who is called upon to testify in the courtroom. In abbreviated form these 18 admonitions are as follows.

  1. Do take your appearance in court seriously as the medical witness is the key one in administering justice.

  2. Don't accept compensation on a contingent basis. This is ethical for the lawyer, but unethical for a witness.

  3. Do insist upon a pretrial conference with the attorney who calls you as a witness, so that you will know what to expect.

  4. Don't take sides in a case. Partisanship of a witness tends to discredit his testimony.

  5. Do be thorough in examining the patient prior

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