depositions

  1. Next week I will give my deposition for a case involving a CP baby. I was the L&D nurse for the 7p-7a shift. I have never given my deposition with the presence of video cameras/court stenographer/7 lawyers. Can anyone give some great advise on how to tell the truth in the presence of "mucho" intimidation. I was able to watch my fellow co-worker give her deposition about 1 month ago. It was not pleasant.
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   ?burntout
    :stone Oh my....I have never had to give a deposition, but stick with the facts that YOU KNOW FOR SURE. Do not guess at what happened-if you don't remember, say that you can't recall.
    Answer yes or no. Don't elaborate on your answers.
    Take slow breaths; pause and think before you say anything.

    Is the hospital attorney going to be there? Usually they will give you advice before you give the depostition and if I am not mistaken, are usually present in this process.

    This would be a good question on the Legal Nurse Consultant board too-you might get more advice their....just a thought
  4. by   Anaclaire
    Will one of the 7 lawyers be there representing only you? I've never been in such a situation but it seems like a good idea. From what I've known of in the past, hospital attorneys will try to protect nurses but seem to put the hospital and the physicians first on their list of who to protect the most. Did you have your own malpractice insurance? You could get some great answers and assistance from them if you do.

    I love the advice given by ?Burnout above. The less you say the better. Taking deep breaths and taking your time will help keep you from being flustered and looking nervous. I'll say a little prayer for you next week too.

    Wishing you all the best!!!
  5. by   mommajoe
    Yes, one lawyer is representing the nurses. There are 3 nurses named in the case. We do not feel as though much preparation has been given. One nurse had malpractice ins., but not me. She did a great job of being neutral. It just seemed she tried very hard not to answer the question with anything though. Her definitions such as late decel/high risk were very vague. But maybe that is how it should be. I am very new to this lawyerEVIL world. They keep reminding us it is all about money$$$. I just don't won't to look like a fool. I happen to be the spotlight witness for the hospital as everyone calls me. It is not a nice place to be. 2 MD's have gone together against another one. Thanks so much for praying. I have prayed and prayed that I would honor my God with the deposition and that something good would come out of all this. I have been rescheduled now already 2 times. I know that God is preparing me, but it is still shakey ground. I went to a AWHONN conference last month. It is going to help greatly. Have a great night.
  6. by   Gator,SN
    I recently heard a lecture given by a nurse/ legal nurse consultant and she said the most important things to remember is that the prosecution will ask the same questions over and over to throw you off and make you uncomfortable.....remain calm and just stick to your answer. Also, not matter what only answer what is asked, nothing more and nothering less. She also said that it helps to think of your answers in the way that you would give report.

    Good luck to you! Keep us posted!

    Gator
  7. by   Mimi2RN
    Dress well, business attire. The hospital attorney will talk to you first. Did you get chance to look at the chart and strip yet? "I don't remember" is a good answer, and just answer exactly the question that you have been asked.

    I was also asked about my education, how long I had been a nurse and length of time at the hospital. Things you wouldn't think they would ask. If you are not sure, look at the hosp. attorney. He can help, or ask them to clarify their question.

    There is a lot of game playing involved in this, you happened to get in the middle.
    BTW, get malpractise insurance for yourself, now.

    Good luck, mimi
  8. by   renerian
    I did a deposition once for an auto claim. The insurance company had a lawyer and I hired my own lawyer as well. The insurance company one was passive, mine was aggressive and most definatley ran the show. I could not remember word for word conversations or actions from over a year before the deposition so most of my responses were I don't remember word for word. I wish you good luck it is scarey.

    I also did one where my employer was being sued. Client settled out of court. Thank goodness. It was nerveracking.

    renerian
  9. by   mother/babyRN
    Yes no answers whenever possible and do not offer info or explanation. Keep it simple.
  10. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Oh every L and D nurse's worst nightmare come true. I feel for you. I agree w/the advice above. I would likely contact a malpractice attorney for consultation myself at this point, just to be versed on what and what NOT to do. I agree; law is NOT my area and I know little. I would want counsel just to be sure I did not mistep at any point in the process. I wish you the BEST of luck. Hang in there.....we all feel for you!
  11. by   Jolie
    I'll send my best thoughts your way!

    I've never been called for a malpractice case, but I have given depositions and testified in other legal matters, and I believe that preparation is the key. Call your hospital Risk Manager or Attorney and INSIST on a meeting prior to the deposition. It is ridiculous to expect you to give a deposition without any prior preparation, and anyone who would allow you to do so is not representing your best interests!

    I agree with the others. Dress professionally, give brief, yes/no answers, and ask to consult the medical records if necessary to refresh your memory of the events. No one can expect you to remember minute details of something that occurred years ago. And be sure to answer only the question that is asked. Do not elaborate and do not offer any additional information beyond what is requested.
  12. by   webbiedebbie
    I was called to give a deposition on a baby with CP. She wasn't even my patient. The hospital lawyer went over things with me and I got to review the chart.

    During the deposition, answer only yes or no. Don't go into details. Answer truthfully. It is okay to say you don't remember, if you don't. The hospital lawyer sat next to me and would nudge me with his foot if he was uncomfortable with the question. That was to prompt me to think before answering.

    It can be intimidating to sit and answer so many questions (many repeated). Don't get defensive. Don't feel that there is something you have done wrong. Don't go into details. Only answer the question given to you. Don't think you are getting someone else in trouble by your answers. Don't put blame on anyone.

    Do get a good nights rest. Eat a good breakfast. Dress professionally.

    I encourage you to contact the hospital's attorney. Go over everything again with him/her. This will better prepare you.

    The one I was involved in ended up being settled out of court.
  13. by   mommajoe
    Thanks so much everyone for your helpful and much needed advise. I esp. appreciate gator's and webbiedebbie's threads. It is so nice to know that our profession really cares about one another. This is a great website. Thanks to whoever created it!!!
    Just one more thing... how do you think you would answer and define such terms as: late decelerations, fhr baseline, variable decelerations, non-reassuring vs reassuring pattern, hyperstimulation. The lawyers take the strip minute by minute and you have to answer for each possible deceleration. I hate to keep this thread running for so long, but my mind continues to try to anticipate any possible question.
    I love being a LD nurse, but I sure don't won't to have to do this too much.
  14. by   LadyNASDAQ
    Sounds to me like the one being sued is the Doctor. I hve only bee to one depo but know that you become nervous and worried and then you listen and realize tha you can truly shine past it all.

    It turned out that the reason I was there was because of my excellent documentation and it was a comparison tool. Just understand that Nurses are there a part of the day and the Dr. takes the flack for 24 hrs/day. You are there due to being assigned the patient and they will ask you if you remember the patient.

    Words of advice... listen intently to the Hospital's attorney. Don't volunteer anything.

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