Anatomy of a Deposition

3/10/2021 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm

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1 Professional Development Credits


Despite best intentions the longer you practice medicine the more likely you will be named in a suit. Join us at 7:30 PM Central Time on March 10  for the webinar entitled "Anatomy of a Deposition". This webinar will address issues surrounding the receipt of a subpoena as well as offer practical tips and support in the event you do so.  It will also discuss the pros and cons of giving voluntary testimony as an expert witness as well as facts to consider any time you are contacted by an attorney.


A deposition is an individual testimony taken in the form of a question/answer format outside the courtroom.   Participants include the person giving the deposition as well as plaintiff counsel, defendant counsel, and counsel of the one giving the deposition (if different from above).  It is transcribed by a court reporter under oath.  Depositions occur in the discovery phase though they may be called for at any time.   In addition to the defendant and plaintiff a deposition is taken from witnesses.  Witnesses may include any person involved in the case (nurses, staff, billers, other physicians, etc) at multiple institutions as well as expert witnesses. 

 It’s a critical part of the claims process to discover truth so that justice is served in a lawful fashion according to our free society.  Yet for the participants it is an adversarial process creating significant anxiety and can take a significant emotional toll for all parties.  Reputation, career, finances, personal relationships are often all at stake for the defending doctor.  Some cases end with the deposition and court trials are not necessary.  At other times, it is the beginning of a long arduous process that can stretch over many years.  It is best to avoid to avoid this and there are strategies on how best to avoid suits.  However, many physicians will find themself as a defendant the longer they remain in practice.  Others may voluntarily give a deposition as an expert witness which also has a unique set of ramifications though it may come with an initial monetary benefit.

This webinar will provide some basic knowledge to the attendees should they ever find themselves in receipt of a subpoena for a deposition, invitation to participate as a witness, or a call from an attorney regarding any issue related to patient care.

Specific questions to be addressed:

  • I received a letter asking for my deposition regarding a poor outcome on a patient who’s retina detached a year ago.  What do I do now?
  •  An attorney has asked for my medical opinion on a case.  Do I have to and what are the risks and benefits of doing so?
  •  I am not being sued, but an attorney asked me to clarify my diagnosis and visual limitations on work.  Should I comply and what is the best way of doing so?


Dr. Gaurav K. Shah, The Retina Institute in St. Louis

Ryan Bucsi, Vice President of Claims, Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company

Philip L. Willman, Attorney at Law, Brown & James Law Firm

Moderators: Michael Lai, MD, PhD and Bradley Smith, MD


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