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Professional/Education/Science Policies

Policy number Policy name Policy date Sunset date
PP 3-C Medical Physicist Expert Witness 11/29/2008 12/31/2014
Policy source
November 29, 2008 Board of Directors' Meeting Minutes
Policy text

On occasion, Medical Physicists are called upon to serve as expert witnesses in their area of expertise in a wide variety of judicial proceedings and other informational or deposition proceedings. There are no known existing criteria for the qualifications of expert medical physics testimony. The public interest would be well served to have expert medical physics testimony when such is required. In order that the best testimony should be provided, expert witnesses should be qualified for their role and should follow a clear and consistent set of guidelines. Recommendations are set forth below. These recommendations are not meant to apply to a Medical Physicist who finds himself or herself to be a litigant in a suit.

  1. Recommended Qualifications for the Medical Physicist Expert Witness
    1. The Medical Physicist Expert Witness (MPEW) should be active in the specialty or subject of expert testimony.
    2. The MPEW should be certified by an appropriate body if the expert testimony to be given covers a subject matter that involves the practice of medical physics. An appropriate body would be the most relevant of: American Board of Radiology, American Board of Medical Physics, American Board of Health Physics, American Board of Science in Nuclear Medicine, or the Canadian College of Physics in Medicine.
  2. Recommended Guidelines for Conduct of the Medical Physicist Expert Witness

    MPEWs are expected to be impartial and should not adopt a position as an advocate or partisan in the legal proceedings.
    1. The MPEW should review the facts in the case and testify to the contents of the case fairly and impartially.
    2. The MPEW should review the standards and the state of the art of the subject matter prevailing at the time of the occurrence.
    3. The MPEW should be prepared to state the basis of the testimony presented, and whether it is based upon personal experience, specific references, or generally accepted opinion in the MPEWs area of specializations.
    4. Compensation of the MPEW should be reasonable and commensurate with the time and effort given to preparing for deposition and court appearance. It is inappropriate for a MPEW to link compensation with outcome of the case.
    5. The MPEW should be aware that transcripts and courtroom testimony are public records, subject to independent peer review.
    6. Medical Physicists should not testify in cases in which they may have a conflict of interest.

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