In one state, lawsuits where testimony is needed by an out-of-state doctor in medical malpractice lawsuits are going to become tougher to litigate. In June 2006, with the backing of the state Board of Medical Examiners, the state legislature passed a new law requiring out-of-state doctors to obtain a temporary medical license before testifying in state court. The law imposes a cost on out-of-state doctors to pay for a temporary license ($75.00) and also imposes stricter requirements to obtain documents from out of state.
This law unjustly affects medical malpractice lawsuits that rely on medical testimony for a fair trial. South Carolina prosecutors and medical malpractice lawsuit attorneys equally oppose this new law because it obstructs their ability to bring testimony into their cases. One of the chief prosecutors in South Carolina said that often people seriously injured in Beaufort or Hilton Head Island are taken to a Savannah, Georgia hospital because it is the closest trauma center. Now, those doctors licensed in good faith in another state would have to essentially be taxed in order to provide testimony in a South Carolina court.
Medical malpractice lawsuit attorneys have sued the state Board of Medical Examiners, saying the law violates constitutional guarantees of equal protection, due process, and free speech. The law has been temporarily suspended by the Supreme Court of South Carolina.