Investigator wants to ask me about a patient death from this year... what do I do?

  1. I just received a voice mail from an RN Surveyor for the State regarding the investigation of a particular patient who died around the time I cared for her earlier this Spring. She didn't leave specifics in the message, she just wants me to return her call. I am an agency nurse. How should I conduct myself when I call her back? By the way, I am a brand new LVN.


    Also, I want to add, this State surveyor does not work for the Board of Nurses but for the Department of which the nursing facility is a part of.
    Last edit by TxAnon on Sep 24, '10 : Reason: Additional note
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  2. 21 Comments

  3. by   BluegrassRN
    I would contact your boss at your agency and let them know. They may be the ones to deal with this. Our boss wishes us to contact her directly BEFORE we talk to anyone.

    Also, do you have liability insurance? You may want to contact them, too.
  4. by   Esme12
    Contact your agency and tell them you want a lawyer and ask them what their policy is concerning these matters. If you have malpractice insurance call them even if you did nothing wrong they will provide you with a lawyer and legal advice. Seek legal counsel!!!! Immediately................even if you did nothing wrong!!!!
  5. by   dthfytr
    My suggestion is to offer to read what you wrote in your nursing notes if they are available. Don't read or interpret anybody else's, and because memory is easy to fool, I'd say I don't remember ANYTHING. Stick to what's in the medical record. I think that's the best way to protect yourself and avoid being drawn into accusing someone else of an error. Volunteer nothing.
  6. by   TakeTwoAspirin
    I would not speak to anyone I have never heard of over the phone about such a matter. You are taking their word for it that they are who they say they are. If they contact you again, as them to contact you in writing (on official letterhead, not an e-mail) stating exactly what it is that they want and you will consider their request after you have spoken to your legal advisor. Don't let them bait you into talking to them without counsel. If they are serious and legitimate they will be happy to comply. If they are just "fishing" they will go away. There are way too many scams out there to be drawn into something like this.
  7. by   classicdame
    be polite, but tell her you have referred it to your supervisor and will need their feedback before you make any comments. Then HANG UP. This person could be the patient's attorney for all you know. If she really does represent your facility she may be digging for info to protect the facility. Either way, you are not protected. You really don't have to talk to anyone unless you are summoned to court - well, that is my assumption. You may need legal representation.
  8. by   TxAnon
    I just called my agency and my contact says that they Department was just wanting some information and I'm "not in any trouble or anything" and it's nothing to worry about.

    I'm almost sure it's not a scam since they went through my agency to get my contact info but I will still be cautious.

    Thank you for your replies.
  9. by   classicdame
    If she asks can she record the conversation say no. In fact, I would ask her to mail me the questions and I will respond. After all, you will need to recall the situation.
  10. by   TxAnon
    I just contacted her. It's all good. She was asking if I remember providing care for a certain patient on a certain date and there was no way I could validate that, which is a good thing because she was no longer interested in speaking with me.

    Thanks again for your advice!
  11. by   msn10
    She may call again with proof that you did care for the patient. If that happens, get a lawyer.
  12. by   caliotter3
    Contact your employer, your malpractice liability insurer, and see an attorney.
  13. by   blondy2061h
    Quote from TakeTwoAspirin
    I would not speak to anyone I have never heard of over the phone about such a matter. You are taking their word for it that they are who they say they are. If they contact you again, as them to contact you in writing (on official letterhead, not an e-mail) stating exactly what it is that they want and you will consider their request after you have spoken to your legal advisor. Don't let them bait you into talking to them without counsel. If they are serious and legitimate they will be happy to comply. If they are just "fishing" they will go away. There are way too many scams out there to be drawn into something like this.
    This is excellent advice. I'm tempted to print this and put it by my desk or something. It's too easy to let panic blur your judgment in the midst of this sort of situation.
  14. by   BittyBabyGrower
    The agency should have a legal department, I would start there if you are contacted again. I have been deposed several times and that is where it always starts.

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