'Mini medical school' for lawyers

Published: May 17, 2006 at 3:50 PM

WASHINGTON, May 17 (UPI) -- Drexel University in Philadelphia is offering a new "mini medical school" for trial lawyers to learn about their clients' conditions.

The program, offered through a partnership between the university's medical and law schools, is sponsored by the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association and the Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel.

The program is designed to help trial attorneys better evaluate potential claims and defenses, and arrives just at the end of a medical-liability debate in Congress that pitted doctor and trial-lawyer associations against each other.

One-day sessions are available on the physiology, diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions frequently encountered by trial attorneys.

The courses, scheduled for dates in May and June, will be taught by faculty physicians at Drexel University College of Medicine. Topics include traumatic injuries and medical emergencies, cancer screening and diagnosis, and the cardiovascular and nervous systems, including diagnosis and treatment of heart disease, stroke and brain injuries.

"This is truly a unique program because we have doctors teaching medicine to medical malpractice attorneys, both plaintiff and defendant," said Carl Oxholm III, senior vice president of the College of Law. "We think that lawyers who are educated about the practice of medicine, in areas where they regularly represent clients, will be better able to serve those clients."

The courses will also help lawyers better determine at an early stage whether cases have merit, said Mark Tanner, vice president of the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association.

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