Memorable CLNC® Cases

The One CLNC® Role I Resisted Helped Me Jump Start My Legal Nurse Consulting Business

by Dorene Goldstein, RN, CLNC

Dorene GoldsteinEarly on in my career as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant I was hesitant to take on the role of a testifying expert and I declined numerous opportunities to testify. Then I decided it was time to jump start my CLNC business, so I said yes to the next attorney who asked me. I was hired by a defense attorney to testify on a labor and delivery case. The nurses and physician were being named in a fetal death case. This was a small hospital that did not have an obstetrician on site.

My attorney-client turned to me, said, ‘Wow’ and gave me a big smile! He said that I had done a great job and was obviously well prepared.

 

At the time of the fetal distress, the physician was notified. According to hospital policy and the standard of care (SOC), the MD arrived within the guidelines of 30 minutes from the time the decision to perform a cesarean section was made to the incision time. The nurses acted within the SOC while waiting for the doctor to arrive. This was an unfortunate case of a placental abruption that led to fetal demise. Since obstetrics was my specialty for the past 15 years, I felt comfortable reviewing the records and giving the attorney my opinion. When I let him know that I could support his side, I knew the next step would be a deposition. I was nervous but remembered what Vickie had taught me, “I am the expert in obstetrics.”

I read and reread the medical records, studied the facts and SOC, and was ready for my first deposition. My attorney-client met with me the day before to role-play possible deposition questions. The morning of my deposition, I put on my best power suit, rehearsed some positive affirmations and went on my way.

Three hours into the video deposition, we took a break (off camera) and my attorney-client gave me the thumbs up. I was doing great! Later during the deposition the plaintiff attorney paused and scratched his head while looking at his questions. It was obvious he wasn’t breaking me and I continued with the same tone, posture and confidence.

Finally, after five hours, I heard the words that I was dying to hear, “I have no further questions!” The video recording was stopped and we were done. My attorney-client turned to me, said, “Wow” and gave me a big smile! He said that I had done a great job and was obviously well prepared.

The case against the nurses was dropped after my testimony. My attorney-client thanked me again and said I was the reason the plaintiff dropped the case. I felt fantastic and knew that this was what I was supposed to do. I was ready to take on another obstetrics case.

The lesson I learned is don’t discount being a testifying expert in the field of your specialty! Remember, as Vickie says, “We Are Nurses And We Can Do Anything!®

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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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