Freeked Out In A Law Suit

  1. 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 normal protocol;ewall, folley, monitory o2 ect.
    The suit states that I sexually molested the pt. The pt as well as my self are male. I am married with a child. I have ER MD documentation of pt halucinating and low respirations ect. He received cha, narcan and romazicon. Later documentation in the ICU from an out of house psych facility shows Halucinations and delusions. The hosp. has provided an attorney. He says not to worry that this will not make it past deposition. My concern is that There was not much nursing documentation on him in th ER due to the fact that he was out of it most of the time. There is doc. of sternal rubs due to LOC and things of that nature, This is my first, and hopfully, my last suit. Any advise or coments? Als there have been no criminal reports filed agianst me and the date has passed for him to do any. The lawyer says my lisc. is not in jeopardy. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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  2. 62 Comments

  3. by   l.rae
    hi cmore, l am ER nurse too...and l always fear a frivolous law suit like this. l havn't been thru one and don't really have any legal advice to give, just my support.....but l tend to agree with the info. you have received. l can't imagine someone pumped that full of drugs would have any credibility.....keep us posted on the progress and keep a good thought. lt must be hard with this hanging over your head even tho you have been told it can go nowhere............good luck......LR
  4. by   sunnygirl272
    do you have a lawyer of your own?
  5. by   renerian
    I really do. I wish you the very, very best. Do you carry your own malpractice insurance too? I have always kept it just in case.

    renerian
  6. by   CMORELOCK45
    I am waiting until the deposition brfore getting my own attorney. As to the insurance, no . I'm sorta mixxed on that. From several legal sources, I have been told that if I had had it, it would be worse as far as the amount named. Right now it is only $500,000.00. I recieved the papers today. He states the following: The I unnessarilly catheterized him, I pulled on the catheter causing him pain, I inserted my finger into his rectal vault and that I said sexually explicit thing to him. He further states that because of all this it caused him to experience a loss of happiness in his life. This is the entire complaint. I have a MD order for the catheter, I have a nurse that witnessed him have the catheter tubing wraped around his foot and the rest of it is my word agianst his. considering he had no one with him in the er. what do you all think about that?
  7. by   plumrn
    Unbelievable! Sorry you are having to waste your time on this. It is very frightening. I know.
    It sounds as though you really have nothing to worry about, but you still must take this seriously, and do what you can to protect yourself. I would suggest you do not wait until after the deposition. Most malpractice coverage states that you must notify them IMMEDIATELY when you find you are named in a suit. Any delay might void your coverage.
    Good luck and I hope this turns out to be only a small bump in the road for you.
    (edited to say: I just saw that you don't have liability insurance:imbar )
    Last edit by plumrn on Feb 27, '03
  8. by   wv_nurse 2003
    I think yes--you have to take this seriously but also--no, I doubt it goes anywhere. It seems this man who was out of his head--that much is documented given the amount and types of drugs in his system.
    You will be in my thoughts--and I do hope (although given the suit-happy mentality of a lot of people--I doubt) this is your last encounter with depositions and attorneys.
    Best of luck to you.
  9. by   CMORELOCK45
    Thanks. I hope and pray that this will end soon. Keep me and my family in your prayers. I have allways thought God has placed me in this profession and I truely believe he will lead me thru this
  10. by   sanakruz
    In my experience those with drug abuse issues lose most of their credibility.
    You need a an attorney that is a shark.
  11. by   veetach
    just a question, during what phase of his drug overdosed state was he supposed to be lucid enough to identify that he was being "molested"??? At this point, I would recommend that you carefully review your charting, get it into your head exactly what happened in what sequence and go into this with confidence that you were not endangering him in any way.

    scumbags like this make our jobs so difficult. OMG do you guys Ewald all of your OD's or was he just incredibly bad when he came in?
  12. by   RN2B2005
    GET YOUR OWN ATTORNEY!! I don't know what "legal resources" told you that obtaining counsel would increase the total amount of the suit, but that statement is ridiculous. The plaintiff sets the amount of the claim, and he or she can change it as he or she sees fit.

    The hospital's attorney is there to protect the HOSPITAL and its assets and reputation, not your assets or your reputation. This person has chosen to make such a ludicrous claim precisely because it's the sort of thing no hospital wants to see in the morning newspaper, true or not, and therefore is likely to be settled out of court. The hospital will GLADLY cut you loose, settle their end of the claim and cover its own you-know-what if that is what it takes to keep themselves out of the newspaper.

    Drug habit or no, the fact of the matter is that a) you were alone with the patient and b) the patient is claiming that he was raped--every red-blooded American man's worst fear. Sure, it might 'not make it past deposition'...but you aren't going to have an unbiased attorney at the deposition, which means you don't have anyone looking out for your interests, which means it could very well make it past deposition.

    Remember, civil suits require only a preponderance of evidence, not proof beyond reasonable doubt. This is why innocent people lose civil suits every day, and why so many frivolous suits are filed. Being innocent isn't a defence, unfortunately.

    Good luck, and don't say another thing until you have an attorney.
  13. by   teeituptom
    Hi ya'll
    from deep in the heart of texas

    Doesnt sound like you have anyhting to worry about. Besides you are not a real ER nurse till you have been named in a lawsuit.
    I had one where we restrained a combative drunk kid, and of course I was named for applying restraints. It of course didnt fly he just had a shyster for a uncle. Also of course one nurse got bit fairly severely by this kid and I got kicked and had 3 broken ribs. Played helll with my golf game. Try swinging a club with 3 broken ribs. Its a *****...
    And another one I was named in because we allowed the police to handcuff and take a drunken combative 22 y/o to jail. That also failed.
    Just learn to roll with them.
    Also most decent sized cities you can hire a somebody to whack him out for about 50 to 100 dollars. Ive never done it, but Ive been tempted.


    doo wah ditty
  14. by   dcoxrn
    1) Retain your OWN legal counsel ASAP. It is not unheard of for hospitals to sell out nurses to save themselves. They view us as expendable.

    2) Keep a log of everything that happens and what you learn along the way. Later you can look back on this as a learning experience. You may even write a story or article about your experiences. Nice way to make a positive out of a negative.

    3) The plaintiff probably has no case - but do not rely on this. Remember law often has no correlation with justice (sad, I know, but true).

    4) The case may get thrown out. If it does, consult with YOUR attorney (see above) about counter suit for frivolous filing, endangerment of livelihood, and emotional distress. If filed, you can also recoup legal fees.

    5) Another learning point. Where this concept of not carrying your own professional liability insurance comes from eludes me. As you have seen, you can get sued without it. NO research has indicated that those who carry their own insurance are more likely to be named. Plus it pays attorneys fees. I pay $80 per year for $3 mil of coverage. Less that one hour of attorneys fees.

    6) Another learning point. Document, document, document. Even drunks that are passed out and sleeping it off should have consistent documentation. Sounds paranoid but now you see why.

    Donald


    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
    Donald Cox, RN, BSN, CEN, RCIS
    mailto:dcoxrnc@earthlink.net
    IM me on AIM or Yahoo! - doncoxrn
    http://www.cox-family.org/Donald/
    Currently on assignment in New Jersey
    But still calling North Carolina home.
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    I feel like my wild oats have turned to shredded wheat.

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