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|VIDEO| The Credibility-Building Testimony That Helped Key a Med Mal Defense Win, in Medical Testimony Master Class

Posted by Arlin Crisco on Dec 22, 2022 11:01:27 AM

Dr. Burton Bentley highlights a powerful example of building credibility while testifying, in this clip from Medical Testimony Master Class. You can watch the full episode here.


In a medical malpractice case, a defendant medical provider’s credibility is crucial to securing a defense verdict. And in the latest episode of Medical Testimony Master Class with Burton Bentley, II, M.D., Dr. Bentley highlights a powerful technique that Huff Powell & Bailey’s Scott Bailey used to bolster his physician-client’s credibility during direct exam, leading to a defense win in a major med-mal trial. 

Dr. William Bottoms, a Georgia radiologist, was among two physicians accused of medical negligence that led to the 2015 kidney cancer death of one of their former patients, Shlomo Moradov. Years before Moradov’s cancer diagnosis, Dr. Bottoms had read images of Moradov’s kidneys, and noted cyst-like structures, but ultimately concluded they did not warrant further follow-up. Plaintiffs contended Bottoms failed to recommend additional tests, while Dr. Bottoms maintained he followed the standard of care and the structures he examined did not appear suspicious. 

A key issue at trial was how Dr. Bottoms came to his conclusion, which implicated his reliance on Houndsfield units, a measurement of the density of a mass, while reading images of Moradov’s kidneys. 

On direct, Bailey has Dr. Bottoms walk through imaging of Moradov’s kidneys. At one point, Bailey turns to the concept of Houndsfield units, a measurement jurors had likely never heard before trial, and one that may confuse them, despite its importance to the case. 

Bailey draws Dr. Bottoms out on the importance of Houndsfield units, and the radiologist explains how the measurement is so crucial that he uses it as part of his everyday practice in reading images. 

Dr. Bentley highlights this explanation as a perfect way to simplify a complex concept while also building the radiologist’s credibility with jurors. 

“He’s explained it… in a very simple way, [essentially saying] ‘Hey I use it every single day. I’ve got to know,’” Bentley says as he watches the testimony. “It’s a great way of explaining you’re conscientious, while also taking us through your daily practice and how important Houndsfield units are.”

Indeed, Bailey would have Dr. Bottoms note the Houndsfield units of various masses on the images as he testified, letting jurors see Bottoms perform that key element of his work, while further bolstering credibility for both the measurement and the physician. 

It was testimony that helped Dr. Bottoms prevail in the 2017 trial, with jurors also clearing defendant urologist Dr. Brian Hill.

The deep dive into a critical piece of Dr. Bottoms’ testimony is the focus of the latest episode of Medical Testimony Master Class, hosted by Burton Bentley, II, M.D. In each episode, Dr. Bentley uses real trial video to analyze the medical testimony that played key roles in cases ranging from car crashes to large-scale product liability lawsuits. Each episode will give you a front-row seat to Dr. Bentley’s analysis of the country’s best attorneys and how they, and their experts, tell the medical stories central to their cases.

As founder and CEO of Elite Medical Experts, a preeminent firm that aligns university physicians and surgeons as experts for trial teams across the country, Dr. Bentley is a leading authority on the presentation of medical testimony. He’ll demonstrate powerful ways to have your expert resonate with the jury by properly setting the stage, demystifying medical constructs, teaching while telling the story, and using demonstratives to drive home key points. 

The series will launch early next year, with more episodes added regularly, but you can watch the full episode breaking down a portion of Dr. Bottoms’ testimony now. You can also watch an earlier episode, analyzing medical testimony that helped Claggett & Sykes’ Sean Claggett win a $14.1 million verdict in an SUV crash case.

Email Arlin Crisco at acrisco@cvn.com.

About Dr. Bentley: 

Burton Bentley, II, M.D., is a board-certified Emergency Medicine physician with more than two decades of full-time experience practicing in the field. He is also a nationally renowned speaker, CLE presenter, author, and consultant on topics at the intersection of Medicine & Law. In 2010, Dr. Bentley founded Elite Medical Experts, a consulting firm that aligns professors of medicine and surgery as experts in a range of litigation. Elite, with Dr. Bentley as CEO, now serves over 4,000 law firms, governmental entities, and corporations across the country.