May 2004 AAOS Report

Search IDEX for expert witness information; Clearinghouse Project in place

AAOS fellows who are involved in litigation have a new resource at hand to assist in preparing their case. The AAOS Expert Witness Program enables fellows to access a national database of expert witnesses through IDEX, an organization that maintains the Collaborative Defense Network for Expert Witness Research. IDEX has a network of more than 3,800 law firms, insurance companies, corporations and government entities and more than 800,000 records of expert involvement. Some 4,500 to 6,500 new records are added monthly. The special agreement that AAOS has negotiated with IDEX allows AAOS members to determine whether a certain individual has testified as an expert witness and the cases and subject matter involved. IDEX can also provide information on material written by or about the expert witness and any professional disciplinary action taken against the expert. Each search—taking two to three days—will be charged at the discounted rate of $70 (no charge if IDEX has no information on the expert witness).

When calling IDEX at (800) 521-5596, advise the representative that you are an AAOS member. IDEX will then either fax or e-mail the appropriate request form, along with a fee schedule listing available searches. The IDEX representative will also provide instructions and be available to answer questions.

The AAOS Expert Witness Testimony Clearinghouse Project has been reinvigorated. Orthopaedic surgeons are invited to send AAOS an expert witness’ complete deposition or testimony. This information may then be made available to AAOS members and their counsel for use in bolstering or impeaching the testimony of the expert in future matters. AAOS does not review or assess these depositions or testimony. The information is sent in its entirety to the requesting individual.

Orthopaedic surgeons are encouraged to cooperate and support state medical society expert witness initiatives.

The Expert Witness Program will work in conjunction with the AAOS Health Care Delivery Committee, AAOS Professional Liability Committee, and the State Orthopaedic Societies Committee of the Board of Councilors to develop model state legislation or regulations indicating that the provision of medical expert witness testimony is part of the practice of medicine, and encouraging state medical boards to take licensure action for fraudulent medical expert witness testimony.

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