VICKIE: This is Certified Legal Nurse Consultant Marcia Bell. Marcia has told me that she’s been involved in 180 cases. What really intrigued me is that you’re involved in such a variety of cases. What are some of the cases you’ve been involved in?
Marcia: Besides being a PACU expert in medical malpractice cases, I’ve reviewed other types of medical malpractice cases behind the scenes as a consulting expert. I’ve also done accident cases, employment law, family law and I do criminal cases as well as DMEs.
VICKIE: So often new Certified Legal Nurse Consultants only think about their specialty. Your specialty is PACU. So automatically a PACU nurse might think “I can do OR cases,” but you’ve obviously expanded out. I want to ask you about criminal because this is an area where a lot of new Certified Legal Nurse Consultants don’t think about, yet this is a limitless area for legal nurse consultants to be involved in. Tell me about your involvement with criminal cases.
Marcia: I met an attorney one of the first times I exhibited at a state bar association and she had me review a case for someone who had hot oil poured on him in jail. On our next case she asked, “Are you on the list of experts at the courthouse?” I said, “No, what do I need to do?” So she gave me a telephone number to call and I filled out a form. And now she’s referred me to other criminal attorneys who have referred me to more attorneys and I’ve grown from there.
VICKIE: That’s amazing. What are some examples of the criminal cases that you’ve been involved in?
Marcia: I’ve done sexual assault cases. I’ve done gunshot wounds. Sometimes it’s blunt trauma and I’ve also done murder cases. In one of the first cases, the victim died about three weeks after he was shot and I had to assess if he died from the gunshot wound or whether he died from something else. I’ve done DUI cases as well.
VICKIE: Give an example of how you interface in criminal cases. For example in a murder case, how do you interface in that case?
Marcia: One murder case was very technical. I reviewed the autopsy report and saw the angle that the bullet path took was actually helpful for the defense attorney in getting her defendant acquitted. He said he was shooting at the individual over his shoulder and was pointing the gun down and the autopsy report showed that the bullet path went from a lower position to a higher position. There were several shooters and several weapons, so they were trying to decide who did it. The autopsy report and the ability to get through the medical terminology helped the attorney.
VICKIE: I think that’s so important because criminal cases often involve medical records. These attorneys don’t know how to decipher these medical records and that’s where you come in. I understand that you explain this to the jury as well, which is a great role to play in these cases.
Marcia: Right! Just going through and putting the medical terminology in layman’s terms that the jury can understand so that they can give a fair and accurate assessment. And it doesn’t matter to me if I’m reviewing the case for the plaintiff or for the defense. My primary focus is to get into the facts in the medical records because the truth makes it fair for everyone.
VICKIE: That’s right and I’m so glad you brought that up. You’re not there to be a vigilante for the victim of a criminal case. Nor are you there to be the protector of the defendant. You just get in there and call it the way you see it, and it’s up to the attorney to decide how to use you from there.
Marcia: That’s correct.
VICKIE: Excellent. Thank you so much.
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