Deposition of a defendant doctor: a lesson in evasion

  Photo:  The videographer hanging with me during the lunch break.

Photo:  The videographer hanging with me during the lunch break.

The doctor is the defendant.   The lesson he has apparently been taught by his lawyers - do not answer questions that they object to.  Or at a minimum do your best not to answer those questions.

He has also been taught to look only at the camera and to avoid eye contact with  the pesky plaintiff lawyer, i.e. me.

Let's see how this plays out.

49

17   Q   If the nurses note abnormalities, how do you get that

18         information?

19     A   If they think it's significant, they report it to us.

20     Q   If there is a significant abnormality, do they have a

21         duty to report it to you?

22                   MS. E:  Objection.  Calls for a legal

23         conclusion.

24     A   I cannot speak for them.

25                   MS. G:  Join.

 

50

1     Q   (BY MS. KOEHLER)  Do you expect nurses to report any

2         abnormal condition or symptom to you?

3     A   If it's significant.

4     Q   How do they know if it's significant or not?

5     A   It's their job.  I can't speak for them.

6     Q   Is a - is it a significant finding if (sorry I have to remove this - just fill in the BLANK with

7         something bad that can happen to the human body)

8                   MS. E:  Objection.  Incomplete hypothetical.

9                   MS. G:  Join.

10     A   Depends.

11     Q   (BY MS. KOEHLER)  Were you aware - made aware by any

12         nurse at 8:30 p.m. - no; sorry - 8:30 would be a.m.

13         that Plaintiff had BLANK?

14

15     A   No.

16     Q   Would that have been a significant finding?

17                   MS. E:  Objection.  Incomplete hypothetical.

18     A   Yeah.  I can't speak for the nurses.

19     Q   (BY MS. KOEHLER)  If you don't know whether having

20         BLANK is significant, how would a nurse

21         know that?

22                   MS. E:  Objection.  Argumentative.

23     A   Sorry.  I don't get that question.

24     Q   (BY MS. KOEHLER)  Why is it . . .  Why is having BLANK

25         not a significant finding?

 

51

1     A   Who said it's not significant?

2     Q   Is it significant?

3                   MS. E:  Objection.  Incomplete hypothetical.

4     A   I can't - I can't tell what the nurses saw or wrote.

5     Q   (BY MS. KOEHLER)  If plaintiff had BLANK, is that a

6         significant finding?

7     A   I cannot speak for the nurses.  You are asking a

8         hypothetical question.

9     Q   I'm asking you as a doctor.  If you saw --

10     A   As a doctor --

11     Q   As a doctor, if you saw BLANK, would you find that

12         to be significant?

13     A   Sometimes patients have BLANK that, you know,

14         would come and go, so this would make it insignificant.

15         If it's persistent, it would make it significant.

This charming discussion of ours of course goes on and on.   For the entire day.   You are seeing only a snippet.

So...

what do you think.

Does not answering questions help a doctor gain credibility.