Legal Nurse Consulting News: Attorney's Secret Weapons are Legal Nurse Consultants
Friday, April 27, 2007
?I read those medical records. I didn?t gather near as much information from them as you have in this report. Your report also helped me to settle this case for less than what the demand letter requested.? An attorney from the Attorney General?s office made this statement to Teresa Rawlings, a Registered Nurse who assists attorneys with their cases that involve medical issues.More and more, attorneys are relying on experienced nurses to help them understand and resolve complex medical cases or claims. Nurses are trained educators; their captive audiences are usually patients and/or their families. They explain complex medical and nursing issues in simple, easy-to-understand language. Oftentimes, they need to become quite creative to carry out these tasks. Registered Nurses utilize and rely upon the nursing process to evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching. Frequently, this involves asking the patient and/or family to demonstrate or explain what was taught.Legal Nurse Consultants (LNC) are uniquely valuable to the legal profession. They utilize their nursing education and clinical experience to attorneys about the adherences to or the deviations from, the accepted standards of care. An attorney should never consider handling a case that involves medical issues without a Legal Nurse Consultant on their litigation team. A Legal Nurse could prevent him/her from unwittingly going down a blind alley.These secret weapons are not a replacement for trained paralegals. The role of the LNC is very different from a paralegal. These positions complement each other. In healthcare facilities, nurses are part of a multidisciplinary team that works together to help the patient to return to their optimal level of health. In the legal setting, the idea is to form a flexible litigation team of differing abilities that can support their legal theories and justify their viewpoints.Legal Nurse Consultants are not limited to the areas of medical malpractice and personal injury. They are increasingly being sought out for assistance in criminal cases. For example, it would be important for an attorney to know how a person might act if his/her blood sugar levels dropped, if they experienced an aura before a seizure, or suffered from an acute memory loss, etc., in relation to the facts and/or claims nature of the case. As investigators, Legal Nurses are adept at navigating the ?innards? of healthcare facilities and are able to extract pertinent medical record data, identify red flags and recognize information that will help to defend or refute key allegations.