American Society of General Surgeons
Retrieved on February 28, 2013. American society of genral surgeons. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.theasgs.org/education/education3.html
ASGS Expert Witness Certification Program
- PreambleBy virtue of this program, the American Society of General Surgeons (ASGS) is on record that it will not tolerate false testimony by physicians during medical-legal proceedings. The ASGS, in the interest of patient safety and in order to maintain the highest quality of surgical care possible for our patients, may be willing, upon request, to review the credibility and validity of expert witness testimony under the terms and conditions listed below. The ASGS encourages its members to become certified as expert witnesses and emphasis the responsibility of the expert witness to maintain a current, up to date knowledge base of all aspects of care of the surgical patient.
- Certification RequirementsThe ASGS believes that the minimum requirements for qualifying as a certified expert witness should reflect the following:
- A member in good standing in the American Society of General Surgeons.
- The expert witness will abide by the American Society of General Surgeons’ Oath of Ethics, the Fellowship Pledge of the American College of Surgeons, the Principles of Medical Ethics of the American Medical Association, and the Oath of Hippocrates.
- The expert witness will have comparable educational, training, and practice experience in the same aspects of General Surgery as the defendant/plaintiff physician.
- The active surgical practice and or teaching experience of the expert witness must have been within five years of the date of the event giving rise to the medical-legal issue.
- Completion of an ASGS approved expert witness course that includes ethical guidelines, professional responsibility, and provides a thorough review of the tenets of impartial expert witness testimony based on the widely accepted theories of clinical surgical science that are supported by respectable experts in the field of issue.
- Two letters of recommendation attesting to the competency, honesty, professional, ethical, and moral character of the expert witness applicant, and good standing in the local and or medical community must be submitted from the applicant’s;
- Hospital board of trustees, or Department of Surgery in the hospital where the expert witness has privileges, and
- The county medical society, state medical society, or the American Medical Association
- The applicant must have 50 hours of Category I CME every two years. No more than 25 of those hours can be obtained at the applicant’s local hospital or teaching institution.
- Certificate IssuanceThe ASGS Board of Trustees, upon receipt of a completed application and supporting documentation, will validate the documentation. When it is determined that all requirements have been met, the ASGS will award an Expert Witness Certificate with a five year expiration date.
- Review Process of Expert Witness TestimonyThe ASGS will establish a Review Panel. An ASGS member may request a review of testimony, by a certified or non-certified expert witness in a case in which they were a party, for accuracy. If the initial review is adverse, the entire panel will review the findings in the case and make recommendations to the ASGS Board of Trustees. If the expert witness in question is a Certified Expert Witness and the testimony is felt to be materially inaccurate, the ASGS Board, at its discretion, may institute the fair hearing due process. If after the fair hearing due process, the testimony is felt to be inaccurate, the ASGS Expert Witness Certification may be withdrawn as well as membership in the ASGS. If the witness is not a certified witness and is not a member of the ASGS, then appropriate state and or local licensing boards, specialty societies, or legal institutions will be notified of the Review Panel’s findings.
- FeesCertification: A fee of $250 payable to the James E. Davis, MD, Educational Foundation of the ASGS will be charged for review of applications and supporting materials needed to comply with certification requirements. (No fee will be charged for applicants who attended the April 2003 Expert Witness Program in New York City.) All expert witness certificates will be valid for a period of five years from the date of issuance.Re-certification: Certified Expert Witnesses may maintain and renew their certification by attending an ASGS sponsored Expert Witness Program and submitting an appropriate application to the ASGS every five (5) years. The re-application fee will be $250 payable to the James E. Davis, MD, Educational Foundation of the ASGS.
Review Panel: A fee of $350, payable to the James E. Davis, MD, Educational Foundation of the ASGS will be charged for and initial review requested by an ASGS member. Other entities making similar requests will be charged $750 per hour for an initial review. Extensive reviews requiring the entire panel to review the issues will be billed at $350 per hour to ASGS members and $750 per hour to non-ASGS members.
- AppealsIn the event that an expert witness certification applicant is not accepted by the ASGS, the applicant may appeal this decision within 30 days of receiving notice of the denial of certification. A full description of the reasons for the denial will accompany the notice. Appeals will be addressed by the Review Panel, and notice of their decision will be sent to the applicant. Should the decision of the Review Panel support the decision of the ASGS, the applicant has the option to request a meeting with the panel to present further documentation in support of his/her application. All costs involved in this process will be the responsibility of the applicant, payable to the James E. Davis, MD, Educational Foundation of the ASGS.
- Fair Hearing Due ProcessThe basic principles of a fair and objective hearing should always be accorded to the physician whose professional conduct is being reviewed. The fundamental aspects of a fair hearing are a listing of specific charges, adequate notice of the right of a hearing, the opportunity to be present and to rebut the evidence, and the opportunity to present a defense.If the expert witness in question is a Certified Expert Witness and the testimony is felt to be materially inaccurate, the ASGS Board, at its discretion, may institute the fair hearing due process. If after the fair hearing due process, the testimony is felt to be inaccurate, the ASGS Expert Witness Certification may be withdrawn as well as membership in the ASGS.
All members of the American Society of General Surgeons are urged to observe diligently these fundamental safeguards of due process whenever they are called upon to serve on a committee which will pass judgement on a peer.
Issued on March 2004