Expert Witness Qualifications

The Society of Breast Imaging recognizes the concerns of its members and others about the qualifications of some who have posed as "experts" in medical malpractice cases involving breast imaging.  The Society believes that the qualifications of an expert exceed those qualifications needed for a physician to provide quality mammography and other breast imaging services.  Considerable clinical time and experience over several years is part of developing the necessary knowledge to qualify as an expert. Additionally, the expert should be actively involved in breast imaging at the time the alleged malpractice occurred so that he or she is personally and professionally familiar with the "standard of care" at the time of the event.  Ongoing participation in mammography and other breast imaging services provides perspective on how care at the time of litigation varies from that at the time of the alleged malpractice so that present standards are not inappropriately imposed on events occurring at an earlier time.  The Society of Breast Imaging hopes that the qualifications it has adopted as defining the breast imaging expert in these cases will be helpful to all involved.

SBI Recommendations for Expert Witness Qualifications
The Society of Breast Imaging considers expert witnesses to be those who are familiar with and experienced in the custom and practice of breast imaging as indicated by their substantial participation in the field during no less than five years, including the time at which the alleged malpractice occurred.  This expert experience is met by the following:

  • The expert has met the criteria of the United States Food and Drug Administration for interpreting mammograms for at least five years and has been part of an FDA-certified practice during that time.
  • The expert has read at least 1,000 mammograms each six months for the past two years.
  • If testimony on breast sonography, sonographically - guided breast biopsy or stereotactic breast biopsy is given, the expert should have training and experience in those areas in which testimony is given.  This training and experience should be adequate to meet the criteria of the American College of Radiology accreditation programs for a physician participating in those procedures.
  • The expert was involved in breast imaging at the time of the alleged malpractice.
  • If no longer in clinical practice, the expert has met the above criteria within two years of initially participating in the case.