Don’t limit yourself to your state’s borders when taking opportunities to review cases for attorneys. Last week another legal nurse consultant that I subcontract with invited me to an out-of-state attorney’s office to assist in trial preparation. I was particularly eager to help because the attorney’s area of expertise matched mine — nursing home litigation.
I am usually impressed with the way that attorneys prepare for trial, but this one was especially organized. After hearing his explanation of the events leading up to the trial, I was asking myself, “What more can I offer this attorney who is already so prepared?”
So I started putting to use some of the skills I had developed back when I was as a State Auditor Utilization Review Nurse. I went to work carefully looking at the attorney’s assessment notes, reviewing nursing assessments, Minimum Data Sets (MDS’s), physician orders, Medication Administration Sheets, Treatment Administration Sheets and any other pertinent records that were included.
As I did this, I tried to envision how the attorney would use these records to present his case, from opening to closing arguments. He clearly had a plan of how he would present the case, and it was extremely well thought out.
Once I finished, as I had anticipated, the attorney’s first question was, “So what did I miss?” I reviewed the tabbed notes that I had made one by one with him, and he input the information that he thought would be useful at trial into his laptop. I waited until the end to tell him about a crucial piece of information I had found that would help seal the case.
The attorney had missed this information, and so had his associates that were working on the case and who also happen to be present in the room. They were amazed that they had overlooked such a crucial piece of information that would solidify their stance even more than the evidence that they had already tediously prepared.
Most exhilarating for me was that a well-respected nursing home attorney asked me if I was available for future work and graciously invited me to attend the trial.
The other LNC I was subcontracting with also found demonstrative evidence for the case and formatted it into a chart for the attorney, so that he could present it to the judge and jury himself instead of hiring an expert witness. The both of us had traveled out of state to do this review, and it paid off greatly for both of us.