Well, it’s an inevitable part of working in an Emergency Department. I got a subpoena recently and now have to go in to testify on a trauma patient. I’ve gotten a few subpoenas before on trauma patients, but fortunately most cases were settled out of court.
First of all, I think it’s an ethical responsibility of emergency physicians to describe what we saw and did in the care of the injured patient in the legal system. However, I have found that the few lawyers I have interacted with slowly expand their scope of questions to cover things NOT in the medical chart. Has this happened to anyone else? They essentially start to ask me things which an “expert witness” should answer. Expert witnesses receive expert witness fees. (more…)