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A controversial expert witness

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No paediatrician relishes giving evidence to a court when it is alleged that a child's injuries were caused by his or her parent. The task is not made easier on those occasions when the defence argument seems to owe more to wishful thinking than demonstrable fact.

 Five years ago, ADCpublished a “Controversy” paper which discussed a particularly contentious defence argument, that of “temporary brittle bone disease”, the existence of which was frequently championed in court by a particular expert witness.1

 The argument continues: paediatricians who need to further their understanding of the legal position regarding this suggested entity would do well to read a paper published in the March 2000 issue of Family Law.2 They might wish to draw the attention of solicitors (attorneys), courts, and social service departments to the paper.

 This is apposite to US readers as well as those in the UK because it details a US judge's forthright comments on evidence offered by the doctor in question as well as those already stated in a UK judgement.3

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