Over the last decade, the Judicial and Ethics Committee has refined AUA's expert witness policy to provide careful review of cases brought to the Committee's attention by concerned members. These reviews have permitted the AUA Board of Directors to impose sanctions where appropriate, in support of the expert witness policy. However, this retrospective approach does little to protect AUA members against the burdens of future malpractice cases. In virtually every state, statistics show that as many as 90% of malpractice cases are concluded in favor of defendants. Despite these outcomes, many urologists nevertheless complain justifiably about disruption of their practices for participation in time-consuming and tedious malpractice litigation destined to end in their favor.
Responsible attorneys share a common interest with physicians to secure objectively sound expert opinions in all cases. No attorney is interested in taking on (and financing) a case which results in the plaintiff losing because the initial expert opinion failed to hold up in court. Physicians continually lament the malpractice situation, but routinely decline to review plaintiff cases - with a result that these cases are accepted for review by "hired guns" willing to support almost any claim. By not participating in the review process, competent physicians may thus contribute to the situation about which they complain.
AUA's ethical principles recognize members' obligation to assist patients and advance the administration of justice, by providing competent, objective testimony based in good science, in professional liability litigation involving issues in urology. It is advantageous to the specialty of urology to encourage competent and balanced case review where necessary, and to provide testimony on behalf of either the defendant or plaintiff. The AUA Expert Witness Registry is a resource available to members, urology patients and their attorneys, to facilitate this process and promote the cause of justice.
Join the Registry
All U.S. AUA Active Members in good standing are eligible to enlist on the AUA Registry as potential expert witnesses in malpractice cases. Applicants must be active in the practice of clinical urology with at least five years of post-residency clinical experience. A valid unrestricted medical license and current American Board of Urology certification is also required. Applicants should be willing to fairly review cases submitted either on behalf of parties claiming injury, or on behalf of health care providers. Experts are required to review the complete medical records and any background factual information before rendering an opinion, and to express opinions based on relevant Guidelines or scientific literature. Registry participants are expected to provide a frank, honest and complete assessment of potential liability (in confidence) to the party who retains them - but are not committed to testify, if unable to support the party's contentions. Experts may be called upon to testify in court, to assist in facilitating an appropriate settlement of the claim (with or without a trial), or provide counsel reasons for dismissal.
Participants are required to sign the AUA's Expert Witness Affirmation Statement, pledging to adhere to AUA's Expert Witness Policy. All AUA members are also encouraged to complete the AUA's online e-learning Clinical Ethics Expert Witness Module.
Registry members will provide demographic information (including location and area of specialty) and a current CV. Members may submit an optional biography. All participants are contacted annually to renew their active status on the registry.
The Registry is provided as a public service, and AUA is not responsible or liable for the enrollees - who should be carefully screened by the attorneys before engagement. No attempts have been made by the AUA to pre-screen applicants, nor verify their stated qualifications or accuracy of the testimony provided.
All AUA members confirm their acceptance of the AUA's Code of Ethics and Expert Witness Policy as part of their annual membership dues renewal. Complaints about a registry participant or any other AUA member providing expert testimony may be referred to the AUA Judicial and Ethics Committee.
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