Freeked Out In A Law Suit - page 4

I am have recently been named in a law suit by an OD we recieved in the ER one night. The pt was brought in by EMS. Lab work revieled methadone, valium, phenergan, thc and etoh on board. I followed... Read More

  1. by   Scis
    cmore:
    First of all, calm down. The more you get frantic, the more it will appear you are trying to cover up something. He is the OD'er, you are the professional. Do not let your emotions get into any encounter you have with anyone over this accusation. It is exactly that, an accusation. You have the MD and your other professional nurse to back you up. This OD'er's memory is remarkable, especially for the snowing his CNS must have been under at the time. As someone else said, do not wait to obtain a lawyer, get one immediately to work on your behalf only! To depend on a hospital's lawyer to fully defend you is ludicrus(sp?). If they do win, who do you think will be found at fault? Not to scare you, but the lawyer does work for the hospital. I have always maintained my own malpractice insurance as well as being covered at the hospital. Look into it as soon as you can. It may be difficult to obtain a malpractice policy at the present time, but as soon as this suit passes, get one and keep it up to date! You won't regret the money you spend.
    Again, try to relax, hopefully you'll get someone along the line who tells this jokester to buck up, stop being an ass, and stay out of ER's in the future unless he's dealthy ill. These types of patients take up so much of our resources and emotional reserves, they are not worth it! Think cognitively, not emotionally, and you'll be more convincing that all you did to this patient was what had to be done to ensure his safety and proper care by obtaining the info. necessary for proper diagnosis and treatment. In his mental state, he could have hallucinated any of the complaints he alledges. Have faith in yourself, your profession, your integrity. This too shall pass. Doesn't sound like the case will get far, but stranger things have happened! Remember when it's over to protect yourself with your own legal reserves and complete documentation! Best of Luck to you!
  2. by   grouchy
    Just a general comment on the issue of carrying malpractice insurance or not: I don't see how going "naked" discourages lawsuits. Couldn't someone just go after my house, my savings and my future earnings instead?

    Good luck ER nurse! I would spend some spare time web searching for similar cases. Anything you find may help you put together a list of informed questions to ask a potential attorney.
  3. by   tonchitoRN
    grouchy asked if they could go after his stuff. (in most states your home is protected) probably yes. but lawyers want their money now. they don't want to wait 50 years for you to pay $100 per month to settle a case. this is why they want to sue someone with insurance.
  4. by   tonchitoRN
    do get a lawyer. you might have to go before the bon. hope not.
  5. by   Scis
    CMORE:
    Do get your own lawyer and carry your own malpractice insurance, you won't regret it...that said, remember, in any negligence lawsuit the plaintiff must prove 4 key elements:
    Duty to the patient; breach of duty by the healthcare
    professional; injury resulting from the breach; and that the
    breach of duty was the proximate cause of the injury (ENA,
    Prof.Issues,1998).
    Sounds like your patient will have some trouble proving these
    key elements. You will prevail, but you'll never be the same in your practice. For yourself, your family, and your mental state, please cover yourself with a nice malpractice policy for use in the future, then go on and practice your profession with a clear head. You can't avoid these types, especially in ER nursing, but you can diminish the effect on your mental state by documenting appropriately any nursing intervention you institute and the outcome of your intervention. Remember, the patients come and go, then several years later you may be confronted with your documentation when you cannot even remember the event and/or patient. Document now with this in mind. I'm thinking of you and hoping for the best. Keep posting. Patty
  6. by   Katnip
    I was told by a hospital attorney, and a couple of nurse attorneys that it is best to get your own insurance. When push comes to shove, the hospitals are going to put all their resources into defending the hospital, not the nurse.

    I was also told by the same attorneys that the decision to sue is made before anyone knows whether you have insurance or not. That might depend on your state laws.
  7. by   traumaRUs
    What a freak! I work in the ER too. Once, I was accused of taking a urine-soaked $20 bill from some jerk! His girlfriend told the people in court, "He spent it on crack!" The public is filled with idiots.
  8. by   sammycat
    As a nurse following a Dr's order on an overdose pt. you should be covered. Also check the hospital and emergency room procedure book that covers this type of event. I know in our ER we have these proceedures laid out very well. This pt. was out of it, hallucinating, unable to make any decisions for himself due to his condition. At that time he was under the care of the doctor and did not have the freedom to object to any test, medication or proceedure. Had he been medically stable, he probably would have been Baker Acted (restrained for psych eval against their will). As he was delusional and had no witnesses to this "assault" his case can go nowhere, but might still cause you inconvience. Sorry for the pain this "piece of sunshine" has caused you. Good luck.
  9. by   sammycat
    Question......Where would a person go on the web to research the question of malpractice insurance or not. Similar case examples and so forth. Any ideas, please let me know because I have no insurance either. I always thought if I had insurance they would be more eager to come after me as well.
  10. by   Scis
    Get your own insurance anyway. The malpractice insurance also covers "good samaritan" acts, i.e., someone goes down on a city street and you start CPR, etc. You as a professional can be held liable for any acts you do/do not do in this case. You need to make sure your license is protected whether or not you perform acts within or without of the hospital setting where you are employed. I'm sure you have worked hard to earn your RN status and for anything else you've acquired because of practicing your profession, protect yourself!
    Patty
  11. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    So, have you gotten a lawyer?

    Update, please?
  12. by   dazed&confused
    That is really rough and upsetting. I know - I've been there. The hospital bailed and I was left by myself. A hospital attorney had been appointed, but dropped me when I moved and had to get a job not so far away! I had asked if I would still be covered and was told I would. I received this news 9 days before I had to answer to the board!! I knew I had done nothing wrong, but proving it to a bunch of ivy towers is another thing. The best thing I did was talk to everyone that was there. I had notarized letters from the doctors and nurses. I wrote my own letter. Just the facts - no emotions - and attached the notarized letters. I was cleared the day after they got my letter. Although the hospital (administration) dropped me, my collegues did not. I had worked with them all for years. Even my director rallied. There are ways that help that the lawyers don't think about. Just food for thought. Don't put emotions in it. Put only logic and fact. The board does read it. Don't know if that helps or not - I would advise a good lawyer thought, not the hospital one. If I had had the time and money, I would have retained my own.
  13. by   Dave ARNP
    Get your own lawyer!
    NOW!

    Do not wait!

    While it may not help you now, get your own insurance.

    I carry 3.5million through my practice, however I personally carry an additional 5 million in addition.

    There is just too much to loose.

    David Adams, ARNP
    ACNP, FNP

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