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Professional Conduct Program (Continued from page 18)


torneys, jurors and the court on the subject of neurosurgical practice.


* The neurosurgical expert witness shall represent and testify as to the practice behavior of a prudent neu- rological surgeon giving different viewpoints if such there are.


* The neurosurgical expert witness shall identify as such any personal opinions that vary significantly from generally accepted neurosurgical practice.


* The neurosurgical expert witness shall recognize and correctly repre- sent the full standard of neurosurgical care and shall with reasonable accu- racy state whether a particular action was clearly within, clearly outside of, or close to the margins of the stan- dard of neurosurgical care.


* The neurosurgical expert witness shall not be evasive for the purpose of favoring one litigant over another. The neurosurgical expert shall answer all properly framed questions per- taining to his or her opinions on the subject matter thereof.


Subject Matter Knowledge


* The neurosurgical expert witness shall have sufficient knowledge of


and experience in the specific subject(s) of his or her written expert opinion or sworn oral testimony to warrant designation as an expert.


* The neurosurgical expert witness shall review all pertinent available medical information about a particu- lar patient prior to rendering an opinion about the appropriateness of medical or surgical management of that patient.


Compensation


* The neurosurgical expert witness shall not accept a contingency fee for providing expert medical opinion services.


* Charges for medical expert opinion services shall be reasonable and com- mensurate with the time and effort given to preparing and providing those services. 10


The procedures, guidelines and rules 10


http://www.aans.org/L ibr ar y/ Article.aspx?ArticleId=21843 American Asso- ciation of Neurological Surgeons: Bulletin: Spring, 2004 (Volume 13, Issue 1): Blackett, W. Ben, M.D., J.D.: Medicolegal Update: AANS Testimony Rules Rewritten: New Rules for Neurosurgical Medical/Legal Ex- pert Opinion Services.


Are you on the MTLA Listserve?


If not, you are missing out on a very valuable MTLA member benefit 11


Find out why more than 400 members belong to the MTLA Main Listserve


and why many members think the Listserve is the single most valuable membership service MTLA provides.


You may already qualify to post questions, seek advice, talk strategy and obtain the opinions of the best experts around — your colleagues!


Call today to join! To join or find out if you qualify contact MTLA at:


410-539-4336, Fax 410-783-5981 or e-mail mtla@mdtriallawyers.com Annual Cost is $60.00 per year


An actual listserve posting by member Jonathan Kopin, May 2003: “Once again we have demonstrated the value of the listserve. Thank you to those who responded so quickly to my request for a motion. We have what we need. Gratefully yours, Jon.”


12


In 2001, the AANS adopted a policy of pub- lishing the names of sanctioned members and a description of the basis for the sanc- tion. Perusal of the AANS website shows that since then no sanction has been meted out regarding testimony by a neurosurgeon in defense of a medical negligence claim. In addition, given the criticism of the one sided nature of the AANS’ professional conduct proceedings, it seems certain that any such sanction meted out to a neurosurgeon testi- fying irresponsibly for a defendant would have been announced as an indication of im- partiality.


http://www.aans.org/L ibr ar y/ Article.aspx?ArticleId=9916 American Association of Neurological Sur- geons: Bulletin: Spring 2002 (Volume11, Issue 1): Pelton, Russell M., J.D.: Profess- ing Professional Conduct: AANS Raises the Bar for Expert Testimony. 13http://www.aans.org/Library/.


20 Trial Reporter Spring 2006


above seem reasonable enough. After all, how can it be wrong for a professional organization to seek to promote truly qualified, impartial and available expert testimony for all litigants? The difficulty arises in light of the fact that the AANS is anything but impartial in its application of the procedures, guidelines and rules. The truth is that the AANS’ efforts have been completely one sided and, it is be- lieved, no defense neurosurgical experts have been subject to the Professional Con- duct Committee’s scrutiny. 11 The AANS’ lack of impartiality in its policing of expert testimony is really quite understandable given what the AANS has primarily become, i.e., an advocate for the legal and financial interests of its mem- bers. Thus, it is not so much the actions of the AANS, but the claim of impartial- ity and the impact of those actions on the availability of neurosurgical expert review, that causes concern among individuals’impacted by those actions. The AANS’ lack of impartiality is eas- ily seen. At about the same time that the AANS Expert Witness Guidelines were devised, the organization also established a library of expert witness testimony “available only to AANS members or to their counsel in order to determine whether or not an opposing expert has testified consistently in previous litiga- tion.” ’12 The involvement of the AANS in the


tort reform movement is also well known. The organization has its own political ac- tion committee and its website offers members access to an online library with


(Continued on page 22)


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