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From the Editor: Spinal Cord Stimulation
Giving a deposition
By Boone Brackett, M.D.
As orthopaedic surgeons, we are frequently called upon to render depositions, and may casually approach these very formal endeavors without proper preparation, or, indeed, a realization of their importance in the law.
The word deposition is defined in Webster’s New International 2nd Edition as “A testifying or testimony under oath, especially testimony taken down in writing under oath or affirmation in reply to interrogatories before a competent officer to replace the viva voce of the witness.”
When you are called for a deposition, you must approach this endeavor with circumspection and through preparation. Be aware that when you are under oath in a deposition, you are essentially making the final draft of a lengthy statement, for every single word of which you can, and will, be held responsible.
Therefore, four quick and easy rules present themselves:
If you follow these simple rules, the supposed ordeal of a deposition not only becomes far less onerous and dangerous, but can actually be fun.
- Be thoroughly prepared and know your subject “cold” prior to taking the oath. If this means you must reschedule the deposition, so be it! The event can not begin until you raise your right hand!
- Speak clearly and unambiguously, so that even your worst enemy (who, by the way is sitting just across the table from you) cannot misconstrue your meaning.
- Do not volunteer any information, but when asked a question, answer it in a clear, concise, unambiguous and always truthful manner.
- Before trial, read and understand your own deposition thoroughly. Your deposition statement will be scrutinized by the opposite attorney, and any deviations from it, real or implied, to which you testify at trial, will be used to “impeach” your testimony, attempting thereby to discredit you and your testimony. Listen most carefully to the question, and ask for clarification if you do not completely understand what is being asked.
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