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Doctor Says Honesty Is the Key to Expert Witness Testimony

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Tampa, FLExpert witnesses are a necessary and routine component of almost every litigation strategy. Dr. Santo Bifulco, an orthopedic and rehabilitation specialist, sees up to six or eight patients every day who have been sent to him because of a personal injury or medical problem that may have been sustained because of what someone else did.

"I spend a minimum of 60 minutes face-to-face with the patient and sometimes two hours," says Dr. Bifulco. "I go through the patient head to toe, top to bottom and I ascertain what is going on with this patient and then offer an opinion on how that is related to a particular event."

Dr. Bifulco has been testifying in courtrooms on behalf of personal injury victims for two decades, but two years ago, decided to confine his work to evaluating patients and providing expert testimony. "I am passionate about what I do because I really, really care and I like to help people. I like to help them in the exam room and I like to help them in the courtroom."

During his training in physical medicine, orthopedics, neurology and rehabilitation at the University of South Florida, the head of the department at USF medical school made it clear to young doctors that their expertise would be called upon. "You are going to be called to testify because of the nature of our specialty," says Dr. Bifulco. "So we were trained to be effective, truthful, credible witnesses."

Those three things are critical to providing expert witness testimony according to Dr. Bifulco. "I am at the core, a doctor. I always stand on the patient's side, even when the defense hires me," says Dr. Bifulco. "Attorneys know they are going to get the truth—and they know I will call it the way it is."

On occasion, Dr. Bifulco has to tell an injured person who comes into his office that a recent accident or medical problem is not related to what they believe it is related to. "I try to do it in a way that is not judgment," he says. "I tell them I don't know how to help you. I am sorry. I know you are hurting."

"The only way you get to do what I do and still be credible after 20 years, is to tell the truth," says Dr. Bifulco. "My opinions are not pie in the sky. They are truthful and credible."

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
Hi Steven, Interesting comment & video; we've posted your video on our blog. Check it out and pass it around--would love to hear others comments. http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/blog/should-doctors-tell-patients-the-truth-to-avoid-malpractice-you-decide-07730.html

Posted by

on
Honesty may not always be best in a potential malpractice case. Check out this 2 minute video on YouTube showing an actual case history:

youtube.com/watch?v=XlE0x4Z-2gA

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