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ENT/Otolaryngology Expert Witnesses

Find the right expert witness for injury cases

Otolaryngology or ENT (ear, nose, and throat) is the branch of medicine and surgery that specializes in diagnosing and treating ear, nose, throat, and head and neck disorders. Physicians in this specialty are formally called otolaryngologists (or, even more formally, otorhinolaryngologists) but are more commonly referred to as ENT doctors.

ENT doctors in the United States must complete a medical degree (MD or DO), followed by a residency program in otolaryngology, which typically takes five years. Some ENT doctors complete a fellowship in a sub-specialty area, such as pediatric otolaryngology or head and neck oncology. Board certification for ENT doctors is administered by the American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.

Otolaryngology covers a wide variety of medical conditions, including:

  • Head and neck oncology: oral cancer, skin cancer of the head and neck, thyroid cancer, squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity, and skull base surgery.
  • Otology and neuro-otology: dizziness, hearing loss, eardrum injuries, vertigo, acoustic neuroma, otitis (ear inflammation), and ear surgery.
  • Rhinology: sinus diseases such as sinusitis and rhinitis, as well as the anterior skull base.
  • Laryngology: laryngitis, dysphonia, vocal cord nodules and polyps, vocology, tracheostomy, and larynx cancer.
  • Facial plastic and reconstructive surgery: rhinoplasty, facelift, otoplasty, genioplasty, and repair of facial trauma such as orbital fractures and nasal bone fractures.

What is otolaryngology malpractice?

Since ENT doctors perform procedures that affect the face, the throat, the nose, and the sense of hearing, the implications of malpractice for the patient’s quality of life are significant. Some examples of ENT malpractice include:

  • Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of conditions such as ear infections, hearing loss, sinusitis, or head or neck cancer.
  • Surgical errors, such as damaging nearby nerves, perforating the eardrum, or failing to remove all of a tumor during surgery for head and neck cancer.
  • Failure to communicate or follow up with a patient’s primary care provider or another specialist.
  • Failure to obtain fully informed consent, especially for surgical procedures.

The role of an otolaryngologist as an expert witness

Many types of accidents can cause injuries to the ear, nose, and throat. An ENT doctor can evaluate the extent of the injuries and provide testimony on how those injuries have affected the plaintiff’s quality of life. For example, an ENT doctor could testify about the impact of hearing loss or damage to the vocal cords. ENT doctors also perform several types of plastic surgery, so they can opine on the cost and potential complications of reconstructive procedures that may be needed.

ENT doctors are also valuable expert witnesses in cases involving hearing loss, including occupational hearing loss in workers’ compensation and disability cases. For example, an otolaryngologist can evaluate the extent of hearing loss caused by exposure to loud noise in the workplace.

Get the otolaryngology expert witness you need

Legal matters involving ear injuries, hearing loss, and facial trauma can be high-stakes cases. Having the right expert witness makes all the difference. Rieback Medical-Legal Consultants has access to highly qualified, Board-Certified experts in both adult and pediatric otolaryngology. Contact us today if you need an ENT doctor as a medical consultant or expert witness.

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