Happy Nurses Week to all RNs and CLNC® Consultants. In honor of Nurses Week I invite you to celebrate Certified Legal Nurse Consultants and the value you each bring to your attorney-clients. Here are just a few CLNC consultant examples of how you all make a difference in the cases and clients represented by attorneys.
“I’ve had several attorneys tell me that my involvement in a case was invaluable. One example was a case in which I discovered medical-malpractice within a personal injury case. The attorney told me he didn’t know how any attorney could work without a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. My attorney-clients express appreciation by sending me more cases and referring me to their attorney-colleagues.”
– Dale Barnes, RN, MSN, PHN, CLNC
“I was told how valuable I was on the first case I consulted on for an attorney. I was asked to review a case previously reviewed by a surgeon and an anesthesiologist. The patient took a downward turn in the PACU and had a poor outcome. I reviewed the medical records and identified the nurse’s failure to follow the standards of care and failure to follow the physician orders. She administered a narcotic when the patient was in respiratory distress, further depressing his respiratory status. The nurse had not followed any of the orders written by anesthesia. She gave excess IV fluids in a dialysis patient. She did not notify the physician of a low oxygen saturation. When I called my attorney-client with my opinions, she said, ‘You have made this case for me.’ The attorney has sent at least three more cases since this one.”
– Marcia L. Bell, RN, BSN, CAPA, CLNC
“My very first deposition as a testifying expert was for a defense attorney. The case involved a small community hospital in a rural area. The patient presented to the hospital in labor for first pregnancy. Labor progressed and the physician was updated on her progress. At approximately 5:00pm the fetal monitor showed some decelerations. The physician was appropriately called into the hospital when the fetal monitor was not reassuring. The plaintiff had an emergency cesarean section, but the baby did not survive. My opinion was that the nurses acted within the recognized standards of care. At the end of the deposition, my attorney-client looked at me and said, ‘Wow.’ I wasn’t sure how to take his reaction so I asked him. He said, ‘however you prepared for this, you did an amazing job defending the nurses.’”
– Dorene Goldstein, RN, BSN, CLNC
“I’ve discovered invaluable information for my attorney-clients quite a few times. In a plaintiff case, I located research information that was pivotal to a very large settlement. My attorney-client always has me review the defense expert’s CV to identify pertinent articles, textbook chapters and/or presentations related to the case when I am doing case-specific research. In doing research, I discovered a video outtake of the defense expert discussing his work with clinical trials that were used by the pharmaceutical company to get a well-known drug approved by the FDA. The drug was subsequently removed from the market, implicated in a number of patient deaths and resulted in massive litigation. My attorney was prepared to use the video at trial, however, when the opposing counsel saw it, the trial was stopped and the case settled for a high-dollar figure. Needless to say, the video ruined the defense expert’s credibility and gave my attorney-client a lot of leverage. The attorney was extremely appreciative and always tells me that I am important part of the team. I love being able to be actively involved, especially considering I live ten hours away from his law firm.”
– Jane Hurst, RN, CLNC
“I consulted with an attorney representing a family who had lost a baby during a homebirth experience. Homebirth guidelines for midwives are different than for midwives who practice in hospital settings. There are also different educational levels of midwives and different types of licenses. I explained these differences to my attorney-client. This knowledge gave strength to the case and the attorney was impressed with how much she learned. She has referred several attorneys to me since then. I consider a referral the best proof of how invaluable I can be to the attorney’s case.”
– Rebecca Jones, RN, MSN, CNM, CLNC
“I recently worked with a new attorney-client on a sexual assault criminal defense case in which the attorney was unsure if he should encourage the client to settle the case or pursue a defense for trial. After reviewing the evidence in the case, I informed the attorney that I believed the client was innocent despite the 13 counts filed against him by the district attorney (DA). I drafted a comprehensive report and served as the lead expert witness in the case. After the DA called their last witness and rested, the judge threw out eight of the 13 charges due to lack of supporting evidence. After the defense attorney presented his case and the expert gynecologist and I had testified, the jury presented a not guilty verdict on all five remaining charges. My attorney-client was extremely grateful and appreciative for my assistance on the case, and the client and his family’s appreciation were highly rewarding. As a result of my work on this case alone, I’ve been referred cases from four new attorney-clients.”
– Robert Malaer, RN, MSN, PMHN, SANE, CNLCP, CALM, CLNC
“I’ve worked on a variety of cases involving fraudulent documentation. These types of cases are perfect examples of why attorneys need a medical professional to analyze the records. Sometimes the documentation doesn’t coincide with the patient’s overall condition. With these cases, I use my critical thinking skills and clinical experience to piece the records together and find the gaps. I compare nursing documentation, medication administration records, staff signatures, doctor’s records, patient’s diagnoses and lab work. In fraudulent cases, I find that the patient’s condition and diagnoses don’t reflect what is documented. My findings play a significant role in the outcome of fraudulent documentation cases and the attorneys consistently express gratitude for my contributions.”
– Michelle Neal, RN, BSN, CLNC
“My attorney-client brought in a large out-of-state firm that specialized in neonatal cases. This firm takes only a small number of referral cases so he was thrilled when they agreed to take this one. However, he soon felt they were condescending and dismissive of the small town attorney. The attorneys from the large firm steered the cases away from the obstetrician and what occurred during labor and delivery, whereas my attorney-client and I believed that the vacuum delivery caused the injury, not the care in the nursery as the large firm did. I worked closely with him, explaining every detail about the delivery, including staging it in his office so he could fully comprehend the events. He refused to drop the obstetrician from the suit and I agreed. In the end we obtained a substantial settlement. This attorney-client now sends all of his medical malpractice cases to me, and has referred three other attorneys who are now clients.”
– Susan Schaab, RN, BSN, CLNC
Congratulations to all RNs and Certified Legal Nurse Consultants who are invaluable to patients and attorneys. I honor you and hope you’re celebrating who you are this week. Remember “We Are Nurses and We Can Do Anything!®”
Success Is Yours!
P.S. Comment and share how you’re celebrating your value to your patients and attorney-clients this Nurses Week.