This Pressure Ulcer Case Illustrates the Importance of Leaving No Stone Unturned
by Sandra Higelin, RN, MSN, CNS, CWCN, CLNC
One of my most memorable cases was a defense case which involved a hospital sued for elder abuse and neglect because of pressure ulcer development. My opinion was that the nursing standards of care (SOC) were satisfied, and the pressure ulcer was unavoidable because of the patient’s comorbidities.
Because of this case my attorney-client has told other attorneys, ‘Sandra can find the jewels in the case that no one else finds.’
The major allegations included the failure to assess, prevent, plan care, document and follow MD orders. I pointed the attorney to all of the appropriate interventions implemented and documented by the staff for prevention of pressure ulcer, including assessment, care planning, turning and repositioning, wound management and treatment.
This case went to deposition, which ended with the plaintiff attorney wanting a copy of all the documentation I had presented. Before copies were made, the plaintiff attorney returned and declared the case was not going further and would be settled. Because of this case my attorney-client has told other attorneys, “Sandra can find the jewels in the case that no one else finds.” This case occurred early in my career and illustrates the importance of a thorough record review, leaving no stone unturned.
I still review cases for this attorney, and he has referred me to other attorneys many times because of my ability to state and defend my opinions with confidence and evidence. At legal conferences he has introduced me to many attorneys always bringing up this case and how I was able to find the jewels in the case when no one else had found them. Through word-of-mouth and networking my CLNC® business grew, providing me with financial stability and freedom in my career and my life.
I have learned many lessons with every case I’ve consulted on as a legal nurse consultant. I have learned ways to work smarter not harder, utilizing steps on how to prioritize the workload employing time management techniques and utilizing Vickie Milazzo Institute’s strategies for success.
My words of advice that I can pay forward is to be confident in your ability and your expertise. Always provide the attorney with an objective comprehensive review with rationale and facts to back up your opinions. Never compromise your integrity by agreeing with the attorney just to keep business. Always pay close attention to detail, and the big picture will take care of itself.
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