Medical/Legal: Standard of Care Review

ACEP members can request a review of questionable expert witness testimony regarding emergency standardmediummedicine’s standards of care. Any member may request a review of egregious testimony. This may include a case you were involved in or one that you are aware of and can obtain the required documents.

A 12- member Standard of Care Review Panel will examine selected questions about testimony that is possibly false, misleading or without medical foundation. Names and other identifiers will be removed so that the review will be blinded. The decision resulting from the review will not be used in any punitive way, and this initiative is designed strictly for educational purposes.


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The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) believes that a physician providing testimony as an expert witness clearly has an ethical responsibility to be objective, truthful, and impartial when evaluating a case on the basis of generally accepted standards of practice.

This case called for the Panel to review the standard of care for a patient presenting to the ED with low back pain. Published in EM Today August 2005.

By William Sullivan, DO, JD, FACEP - Lead Author A 55-year-old female presented to the emergency department with an avulsion laceration to the tip of her non-dominant fifth finger. Her history included hypertension, diabetes, renal transplant, and DVT. Her medications included immunomodulators and warfarin. She

Brief Background Hyponatremia is one of the more common electrolyte abnormalities in clinical medicine. Some sources estimate that the number of patients who experience sodium levels of less than 135 meq/L can be as high as 30% of all hospitalized patients. Management of hyponatremia is important because severe hypo

This case called into question the statement given by the plaintiff’s expert witness that the period between the patient’s presentation to the ED at 9:20 pm and the ordering of antibiotics at 11:20 pm represented a gross violation of the standard of care in 1998 because there was a “two hour delay.”

This case called for the Panel to review the standard of care for a patient presenting to the ED with a heroin overdose. Published in ACEP News, 2005.

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