Wisc. physicians can't be forced to testify as expert witnesses

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The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently ruled that an obstetrician-gynecologist cannot be compelled to testify against a patient's former physician when a lawyer misses a deadline to name an expert witness. The decision, which reversed a lower court's decision, fell in line with friend-of-the-court briefs filed by the American Medical Association and the Wisconsin Medical Society.

Had the Supreme Court allowed the lower court's decision to stand, ob/gyn Charles Koh, MD, would have been forced to testify as an expert witness in a medical malpractice case against a patient's former ob/gyn. Koh had been reluctant to testify.

The supreme court, however, agreed with the argument presented by the AMA and WMS that upholding the lower court's decision "would have stripped doctors and other professionals of the right to decide whether they would provide their time and knowledge to the court," reported American Medical News (4/19/04).

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