Making Sense of the Linchpin to Medical Malpractice Litigation: Expert Medical Witness Qualification

Section 12-2604 of the Arizona Revised Statutes governs the qualification of expert witnesses in medical malpractice cases. Although section 12-2604 requires the testifying physician to share the specialty of the treating physician, “specialty” is left undefined. In Baker v. University Hospital, the Arizona Supreme Court interpreted specialty to mean a practice area in which a physician may obtain board certification. This Note examines the implications of that interpretation, and argues that defining specialty to align with the pretrial affidavit requirements in medical malpractice claims would better achieve the legislative purpose of expert witness qualification in those types of actions.