Join us as we interview a panel member, Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Expert Witness Ross Elledge.
Mr Elledge is a substantiative Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon based in Birmingham with busy commitments to the NHS and independent sectors, as well as an academic component to his work as an Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer and active researcher.
Thank you for speaking to us. Could you please tell us a little about your medical background?
I qualified in dentistry originally in Malta in 2003 and practiced for some time as a dentist in practice and then in hospitals. I relocated to the United Kingdom in 2005, working in the West of Scotland initially and eventually completed an accelerated medical degree 2007-2010 in Birmingham. I trained across the West Midlands region as a junior doctor, initially as a Core Surgical Trainee in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and then doing higher surgical training in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.
I am full circle back to Plastic Surgery at the end, doing Fellowships in skin cancer and cosmetic surgery before taking up a consultant post in Birmingham, based predominantly at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. I also have a keen interest in Medical Education, holding a Master’s degree in the subject and an Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer post with the University of Birmingham.
What made you choose to work in Maxillofacial surgery?
I would be the first to admit that I “fell into” Maxillofacial Surgery. I initially wanted to be an orthodontist and had to do a junior job in Maxillofacial Surgery. During this period I realised the incredible impact the specialty made on the lives of patients, restoring form, function and dignity to the part of a person most critical for human interaction…..the face. The challenges (and rewards) continued from there.
I note that you have a special interest in temporomandibular joint (TMJ) surgery, can you tell us a little about this?
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) surgery is something of a niche area. These patients present a diagnostic challenge in the first instance, as there are multiple aetiologies behind facial pain that can confound even seasoned clinicians. Many patients require only conservative management including lifestyle modifications and physiotherapy. A small minority require minimally invasive procedures such as arthroscopy (looking into the joint with small cameras). An even smaller minority require total joint replacement. I am one of only a handful of UK surgeons trained to provide the latter for those select few patients.
Why would an expert witness report in Maxillofacial surgery be needed?
My instructions tend to span personal injury and medical negligence. In the former, I am often dealing with injuries from interpersonal violence, road traffic accidents and work-related accidents, with a range of resultant facial injuries. In medical negligence, my work tends to include oral surgery (including third molar surgery and related nerve injuries), TMJ issues following treatment and skin cancer.
What attracted you to writing expert witness reports? And how did you obtain the qualification/accreditation to do so?
I have always been meticulous in my approach to clinical work and felt I could bring this attention to detail to another area of practice. I am very careful and thorough with my reports and genuinely enjoy the process of understanding how a situation evolved, what might have gone wrong and what would be required to put it right. I value being of service to the Court in an impartial and non-biased way, providing my professional insights to bring clarity to a situation. To this end, I completed the Cardiff University Bond Solon (CUBS) Certificate in Civil Law for Expert Witnesses and draw on everything I learnt. I continue to ensure my continuing professional development (CPD) encompasses learning on medicolegal practice.
What would you say to medical professionals looking to undertake expert witness work?
I would say first and foremost make sure you get the appropriate training and mentorship. Ensure you understand your role and place in the process and make it clear when something lies outside of your expertise. Start with personal injury work first before progressing into medical negligence and keep the volume of work low and easily manageable to begin with.
Mr Ross Elledge is a Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon and Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer who provides thorough Court compliant reports in personal injury and clinical negligence cases within his fields of interest.
Instructing Mr Ross Elledge
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