The Doctors’ Fraternity
Plainly put: doctors will not testify locally against other area doctors. By reason of their malpractice insurance carrier’s insistence and their own ostracism of their colleagues who have testified in the past, the medical profession jealously protects itself against local physicians testifying against it. The result: it is much more expensive for a Plaintiff and his lawyer to obtain necessary medical expert testimony in order to make a case against a healthcare provider in the St. Louis area. In fact, it almost universally requires that Plaintiff’s counsel hire an out-of-town doctor.
This is no coincidence - - it is exactly what the malpractice insurers and their teams of defense attorneys want because 1) it drives up the cost of bringing a claim dramatically because out-of-town doctors charge large sums to plaintiffs and their counsel for their review, their travel and their testimony; and 2) out-of-town doctors are less credible in front of juries generally (and in the St. Louis and southern Illinois areas) as the defense always has local doctors ready and more than willing to testify for the defendant health care provider(s). In fact, many local health care providers are defended by expert witnesses from Washington University School of Medicine. To the contrary, very, very few Washington University physicians testify for Plaintiffs in local cases.
The result: Unnecessary cost and risk that must be borne by Plaintiff’s counsel, and ultimately by the Plaintiff, driving the litigation expenses necessary to bring a case higher and higher. The effect in total of these strategies is to drive the cost of litigation to unacceptably high levels so as to make all but a very few cases unworthy of litigation risk and expense. So fewer claims get filed, leaving more victims of malpractice UNABLE TO AFFORD JUSTICE.