Vickie: This is Becky Jones, Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. Becky specializes in obstetrical cases. I know that’s not the only type of legal nurse consultant jobs you’re involved in, but I specifically wanted to ask you about preterm labor cases. One of the things that struck me was when you talked about the percentage of preterm labor that’s out there. Can you expand?
Vickie: That’s huge! And potentially we have a lot of litigation surrounding this issue especially if preterm labor is mismanaged. What are some of the common deviations you’re seeing in these preterm labor cases?
Becky: One of the most common is that preterm labor is not diagnosed early enough so that we can provide interventions.
Vickie: What are some examples of the interventions and, if the patient receives these interventions, what are the complications they’re going to be able to prevent?
Becky: Some of the interventions are about providing medications that help lung maturity and provide neuro protection against cerebral palsy. So our goal is to delay delivery for 48-72 hours. We used to think we could stop preterm labor, but what we know today is that delaying it is the key.
Vickie: If it’s not diagnosed, and it’s not delayed, what are some of the complications? I know these can be pretty significant.
Becky: Yes, we see babies that have difficulty breathing. They may end up with cerebral palsy, intraventricular hemorrhage, necrotizing enterocolitis and all of these things can be prevented.
Vickie: From a defense perspective, how can you help the defense attorney? What are some of the ways you can either prove that there’s not negligence, or maybe help to prove that the alleged injuries are caused by something else?
Becky: Looking into the risk factors that the mom may have is going to be very helpful in identifying whether injury was related to preterm labor or maybe there was something else going on well before labor ever started.
Vickie: What should Certified Legal Nurse Consultants be doing when they first get a preterm labor legal nurse consultant job?
Becky: Start at the beginning. Go to the first visit. Or, if the patient had a preconception visit, look there. Identify risk factors and see if they’ve been addressed appropriately.
Vickie: Very good. Thank you so much Becky.
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