The August edition of the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR) has published a study on the accuracy of testimony by radiologists who testify at a legal trial. The result: Paid radiology expert witnesses testimonies do not coincide with the interpretations of radiologists blind to the court case. 

The study, “Objective Determination of Standard of Care: Use of Blind Readings by External Radiologists” by Semelka, Ryan, Yonkers, and Braga set out to see whether the paid expert witness’ findings of a radiologist in one case matched the findings of radiologists blinded to the clinical outcomes and litigation.

The researchers showed images from six CT studies to 31 radiologistsfor interpretation. Among the studies, one was related to a case that had been the subject of a settledlegal action.

In this legal case, fourplaintiff expert witness radiologists had identified three findingsin the CT study that were not described by the radiologist of record(primary reader). One of the three findings was considered criticaland was the basis for the legal case.

However, the 31 radiologists participating in the study—who had no knowledge of the case—did not confirm any of the four expert witness findings.

The researchers concluded in the abstract, “This finding prompts questions aboutthe current method of determining standard of care in legalcases, that is, use of paid medical expert witnesses. Our findings suggest that use of radiologists blinded to clinical outcomemay be a more objective method of evaluating legal cases.”

(Source: Abstract)