ARRS 2022 Abstracts


E1988. Characteristics of Radiologist Expert Witnesses Serving for Defense vs. Plaintiff
  1. Kenneth Tharp; Emory University; University of Washington
  2. Stefan Santavicca; Georgia Institute of Technology
  3. Divya Kishore; Emory University
  4. Danny Hughes; Georgia Institute of Technology
  5. Richard Duszak; Emory University
Previous studies have reported that medical malpractice expert witnesses for defense in anesthesiology, otolaryngology, neurosurgery, and orthopedics have higher qualification characteristics than those for plaintiffs. We aimed to assess characteristics of radiologist expert witnesses.

Materials and Methods:
Using the Westlaw court legal database, we identified radiologists serving as expert witnesses in medical malpractice cases between 2010 and 2019. Radiologists were classified based on numbers of cases for defense and plaintiff. Online databases were used to identify years of experience and various bibliometrics. Linking each expert’s National Provider Identifier to Medicare datasets, subspecialty and practice setting characteristics were ascertained.

Initial Boolean searches resulted in 1042 potential cases over 10 years. Subsequent manual review identified 167 unique radiologists testifying in 231 unique lawsuits; 143 experts testified in one case (58 defense, 85 plaintiff) and 36 testified in multiple cases (10 defense only, 14 plaintiff only, 12 both). Defense and plaintiff experts had similar years of experience (29.3 vs. 32.4 years, p = 0.82), numbers of publications (60.5 vs. 66.5, p = 0.88) and citations (1994.1 vs. 2269.9, p = 0.29), and H-indices (17.2 vs. 17.0, p = 0.99). Defense and plaintiff experts were similar in practice type (60.0% vs. 57.1% subspecialist, p = 0.83) and setting (44.6% vs. 54.9% academic, p = 0.29).

In contrast to other specialists, radiologists serving as medical malpractice expert witnesses for defense and plaintiff have quite similar characteristics. The archived nature of original imaging and published practice parameters documents in radiology might explain this difference.