Lead Article – March 2019


New Kids On The Block

I find both national and international politics fascinating. Not that I’ve ever been tempted to put my toe in that murky water but trends, persuasions and emerging difficulties can be extremely absorbing.

Both France and Canada have recently chosen leaders who are relatively young. Both are in their forties, both are males and both rode populist vehicles to get to the top. When compared with statesmen and stateswomen in the past, these two are “new kids on the block”. I don’t doubt that they have intellect, competence, social consciences and extraordinary political skills. By necessity however, they are likely to lack experience.

Trudeau 2

Macron 2

The same can be said in medicolegal reporting in the orthopaedic arena. Age however is not the determinant; instead, it’s the time that the reporter has spent within the confines of the medicolegal arena. Very few orthopaedic surgeons embark upon a career in medicolegal reporting at the outset. It is much more common (although not universal) that orthopaedic surgeons approach the business of medicolegal reporting near the end of their surgical careers. They see this as a way of bolstering their superannuation nest, funding unprofitable hobbies and keeping an otherwise ageing mind active.

Whilst I have no grizzle with the motives, some of these aged soldiers lack the necessary skill set. Some tend to pontificate, some assume without evidence and others are simply unaware of the intricacies of foreign subspecialty.

The problem then is how does the instructing solicitor choose the correct orthopaedic surgeon, at the correct time and for the correct case?

LA March 19

Track records are important. Whilst we don’t have formal audits of medicolegal performance in the personal injury or negligence spheres, the rumour mill, scuttlebutt and general Courthouse corridor conversation will usually provide sufficient background information. Whilst we shouldn’t be suspicious of every new kid on the block, some will be underdone. Those who are in it purely for the money should possibly be avoided. Pinning a personal reputation on the coat-tails of a broker or report procurement firm could sound an alarm.


The answer? Do your homework carefully. It is sometimes worth paying just a little bit more, waiting a little bit longer and being a tad more discerning to ensure that the report you secure is one that can be relied upon.