Pierides v Monash Health (No 2)

Decision date: 21 September 2017
“PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – Medical negligence claim – Duties of legal practitioners to court – Failure to disclose existence of expert evidence in a timely manner – Leave sought by defendant to adduce additional expert evidence – Leave should be granted – Civil Procedure Act 2010, ss 7-9 – Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2015, Order 44.”
Find decision here.

Shaken baby expert witness wins High Court appeal

BMJ 2016; 355: i5985
Author: Clare Dyer
“Waney Squier, the paediatric neuropathologist ordered to be struck off the UK medical register for misleading courts in “shaken baby” cases will stay on the register after winning her appeal to the High Court. A panel of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service decided last March to strike her off for dishonesty, cherrypicking evidence, misleading the courts, and acting outside her area of expertise.”
Find article here.

Doctor Confesses: I Lied To Protect Colleague In Malpractice Suit

NPR, 23 September 2016
Author: Marshall Allen
“Almost two decades ago, Dr. Lars Aanning sat on the witness stand in a medical malpractice trial and faced a dilemma.The South Dakota surgeon had been called to vouch for the expertise of one of his partners whose patient had suffered a stroke and permanent disability after an operation. The problem was that Aanning had, in his own mind, questioned his colleague’s skill. His partner’s patients had suffered injuries related to his procedures. But Aanning understood why his partner’s attorney had called him as a witness: Doctors don’t squeal on doctors.”
Find article here.

Fan v South Eastern Sydney Local Health District [2016] NSWCA 64

Decision 6 April 2016
“Catchwords:  TORTS – medical negligence – whether misdiagnosis – whether unreasonable delay in carrying out cholecystectomy – whether delay resulted in further medical conditions and disabilities – claims not supported by experts  APPEAL – civil – function of appellate court in relation to fact finding at trial – whether conflicting statements in written records provide basis for appellate interference with the findings of trial judge – selective reading of evidence – importance of joint expert report and evidence in conclave”
Find decision here.

“Shaken baby” expert with unconventional views struck off

BMJ 2016;352:i1726
Author: Jacqui Wise
“The consultant neuropathologist Waney Squier, who gave evidence for parents in alleged “shaken baby” cases, has been struck off the medical register. The Medical Practitioners’ Tribunal took five months to rule that Squier deliberately and dishonestly misled the courts, showing a blatant disregard for one of the basic tenets of the medical profession. The ruling not only destroys her career but also may discourage doctors from appearing as expert witnesses or speaking out against mainstream views.”
Find article here.

Doctor who gave expert advice in “shaken baby” cases is struck off

BMJ 2016;352:i1682
Author: Clare Dyer
“A leading paediatric neuropathologist has been struck off the United Kingdom’s medical register for repeatedly giving misleading and dishonest evidence to the courts in so called “shaken baby” cases.  Waney Squier, 68, from the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, was a frequent expert witness for parents accused of injuring or killing their babies by deliberate acts. She raised the possibility of different causes, such as choking, for injuries that other experts attributed to abusive head trauma.”
Find extract here.

Expert evidence, including lawyers’ roles

Bill Madden site, February 14, 2016
“Last week’s decision of the United Kingdom Supreme Court, although not a claim about medical treatment, included an overview of the obligations of expert witnesses and lawyers retaining such witnesses: Kennedy v Cordia (Services) LLP [2016] UKSC 6. In relation to the obligations of the lawyers, as explained further below the court said that the legal team should disclose to the expert not only material which supports their client’s case but also material, of which they are aware, that points in the other direction.
Find summary here. Find decision here.

Conclaves and concurrent expert evidence: a positive development in Australian legal practice?

Med J Aust 2016; 204 (2): 82-83.
Authors: Bill Madden and Tina Cockburn
“Many Australian courts now prefer pre-hearing meetings of experts (conclaves) being convened to prepare joint reports to identify areas of agreement and disagreement, followed by concurrent expert evidence at trial. This contrasts to the traditional approach where experts did not meet before trial and did not give evidence together.  Most judges, lawyers and expert witnesses favour this as a positive development in Australian legal practice, at least for civil disputes. This new approach affects medical practitioners who are called on to give expert evidence, or who are parties to disputes before the courts. Arguably, it is too soon to tell whether the relative lack of transparency at the conclave stage will give rise to difficulties in the coronial, disciplinary and criminal arenas.”
Find article summary here.

Taiwan’s Secret Cancer

Aljazeera, 25 June 2015
Source: Al Jazeera
“More than 1,500 former workers at a television factory in Taiwan have been diagnosed with cancer.
The company admits that it dumped hazardous waste, polluting the land and poisoning groundwater. For nearly two decades, sick workers have been waging a David and Goliath battle as they seek justice in the courts for their suffering.”
Find article here.

Doctor who acted as witness outside his competence was punished too severely, court rules

BMJ 2014;349:g6852
Author: Clare Dyer
“A decision to suspend a psychiatrist from the UK medical register for three months for acting outside his competence as an expert witness was “flawed and disproportionate,” the High Court has ruled.”
Find extract here.