The medical record rarely tells the full story in a medical malpractice case. It often seems as though the healthcare team has forgotten the purpose of the medical record and is intent on hiding as many of the real events as possible. Some providers go out of their way to blatantly lie about an incident. In many cases, the electronic medical record and its limitations even encourages this practice. No wonder patients who are harmed from a hospital stay (considering that 20% of every patient suffers a preventable harm, there’s plenty of them) view litigation as their only recourse. Their own medical record is unlikely to spell out the truth of what really happened.
My Most Memorable CLNC® Case: A Small $500 Fee Was the Catalyst for My Success as a Full-Time, Independent CLNC® Consultant
Approximately four months after becoming a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant I received a malpractice case involving the misdiagnosis of an intracranial aneurysm that left a 23-year-old patient in a vegetative state. This occurred while she was pregnant with her first child. Due to the age of the patient and the birth of the child, this case was potentially worth millions.
My Most Memorable CLNC® Case: A Crack in the Sidewalk Led to a $7.2-Million-Dollar Settlement and 5 New Cases
One of my favorite attorney-clients represented a building owner who was being sued for more than $20 million dollars. Negligence was asserted due to a substantial crack in the sidewalk that resulted in the fall of a 30-year-old man. The gentleman died 27 days after the fall as a result of a subdural hematoma.
Getting ready for a presentation, I was reviewing a variety of demonstrative evidence prepared by a friend, Rick Kraemer, whose company Executive Presentations creates graphics, animations and more for attorneys. He works with some of the most successful attorneys in the U.S. and they are not afraid to invest big dollars in his work product. Why? Because it’s wickedly effective at trial as evidenced by the amount of repeat business he gets.
I recently mentored a CLNC student, Joanne, who shared that she was terrified of contacting and interviewing with attorneys. A few probing questions got to the heart of the fear. “I’ve spent 30 years being invisible at the hospital with no one listening to me or respecting what I have to say about patients. Now I’m supposed to walk into an attorney’s office and suddenly feel good about selling myself.”
Pharmaceutical manufacturers have long utilized ghostwriters to help “write” scientific papers emphasizing benefits and minimizing risks of their products. This culminated in a 2010 Congressional Report calling on medical schools, journals and the National Institute of Health to limit the practice.
The Leapfrog Group, a non-profit organization, just released its Hospital Safety Score. 2,652 hospitals were graded on overall performance in keeping patients safe from medical errors and preventable death or injuries. Their new grading systems utilized expert analysis of publicly available data using 26 evidence-based, national measures of hospital safety.
Attorneys must have experts to litigate their cases. While only 5% or less of medical-related cases ever go to trial, attorneys will rarely settle a significant case until the opposing side has put its experts on the table. This is why locating experts is one of the most lucrative CLNC® services a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant can provide to attorneys.
Certified Legal Nurse Consultants know the utility of searching MEDLINE and other wonderful National Library of Medicine (NLM) databases when doing research for your legal nurse consulting work product. In case you’ve gotten rusty, this week’s Tuesday Tech Tip is a quick review on searching MEDLINE versus PubMed.
The electronic medical record (EMR) is becoming omnipresent in the healthcare system. But EMR tampering issues in medical-related cases are a brand new frontier. It’s rare for Certified Legal Nurse Consultants and attorneys to peek behind the EMR curtain, but in the case of Samuel Sweet versus UPMC University Hospital we get to do just that. I first ran across this case last year, when the judge ordered the trial delayed after a local newspaper article about the case and the alleged tampering was published just before jury selection.