Memorable CLNC® Case

My Most Memorable CLNC® Case: This Suicide Case Taught Me How to Ask Critical Questions

My most Memorable CLNC® Case involved a patient who committed suicide. The case was one of my first larger cases, and I was retained by the plaintiff attorney following a phone interview by several of the attorneys at the law firm.

The morning after I was hired to consult on the case, the law firm sent 20,000 pages of medical records along with my retainer check. The records arrived organized and indexed in binders. It was incredible to receive a file so organized and delivered so quickly. I also received another 15,000 pages of documents electronically. Many of the depositions had already been completed and transcribed.

I was retained to review the medical records and deposition transcripts and to write a report within six weeks. I was not informed of the 6-week report deadline until four weeks into the process, with two weeks remaining to prepare a comprehensive report. I have certainly learned to ask more of the critical questions up front about deadlines and work product – just as is taught in the CLNC® Certification Program. It seemed like that is all I worked on during those weeks.

The patient was admitted to the hospital following suicidal ideations and attempted suicide. The medical records indicated that the patient’s suicidal ideations continued, and she scored positive on the relevant suicidal risk assessment questions during hospitalization. Despite being high-risk for suicidal ideations with a previous attempt and plan, the patient’s close observation rounds were discontinued by the nursing staff without consulting the patient’s physician. The patient returned to her room shortly after the close observation level was discontinued, and she committed suicide while a patient in the acute care setting.

A trial date was set for the case, but due to COVID, the trial was placed on hold. Eventually the case was settled for an undisclosed amount and terms.

Through consulting on this case I developed an appreciation for medical records and documents being delivered timely and organized for a quick review. I personally started with a preference of receiving paper documents and have transitioned to requesting electronic files. Although, as so many of my cases have recently moved into the deposition or trial phase, it is a nice bonus when you already have the records printed and placed in organized binders. The key point that I learned with this case is to always ask the critical questions during the initial interview with the attorney.

Guest Blogger Profile

Kim Stonecypher, RN, MSN, CLNC, owner of Stonecypher Consulting, LLC has more than 32 years’ nursing experience in medical-surgical, behavioral health and occupational health nursing. She has also served as a nursing administrator and director of adult services at a level I trauma center. Kim consults on medical-related cases for both plaintiff and defense attorneys.

P.S. Comment here to congratulate Kim Stonecypher, RN, MSN, CLNC and to share your most memorable CLNC case.

5 thoughts on “My Most Memorable CLNC® Case: This Suicide Case Taught Me How to Ask Critical Questions

    1. Gwen, thanks so much! I’m so appreciative of all the dedicated and talented nurses like yourself that I’ve worked with throughout my career.

  1. Congratulations Kim on your accomplishments! I must remember to ask the critical questions up front! Thanks a million! I hope to take the CLNC Certification Exam soon.

  2. Hi Kim,

    Thank you for your great article. I’m new to the CLNC® business world and haven’t even taken the exam yet!

    I can’t imagine how difficult this case must have been. When you said, “I developed an appreciation for medical records and documents being delivered timely and organized for a quick review.” I’m assuming this doesn’t happen often?

    I’m excited to embark in this new endeavor!

    Thanks again!

  3. Great post Kim.
    Thanks for sharing and reinforcing the critical upfront questions.
    I too am a psych nurse.

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*The opinions and statements made by Vickie Milazzo, the founder of Medical-Legal Consulting Institute, Inc. are based on her experiences and expertise, should not be applied beyond the specific context provided, and do not guaranty or project actual results. Vickie Milazzo is no longer involved in the operations or management of the business, but is involved as an independent education consultant.

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