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Called by Law Office regarding patient fall

Safety   (1,741 Views | 20 Replies)

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Today I was called by a law office representing a post acute/LTC facility I previously worked at full time and still work at on call.  They want me to come in for an interview. They said the facility is being sued regarding a patient who rolled out of bed and hit his head, requiring transfer to an acute care hospital with ICU stay.

The patient came in after a stroke, and when his wife asked me "so when I leave and go home right now, you're guaranteeing me he won't fall?" to which I replied "absolutely not, the only way to do that is to get a 1:1 CNA and the facility is not doing that at this time."

The law office said that its the facility and their insurance policy the lawsuit is after, not me, but how can I trust them not to try and throw me under the bus to save the facility? Any suggestions on how to handle this interview? I have NSO Liability Insurance but I don't want to accidentally incriminate myself somehow.

Any advice would be appreciated.

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amoLucia specializes in LTC.

5,273 Posts; 46,263 Profile Views

Call NSO!!!!!! They represent YOU!

You are correct to be cautious, but you need PROFESSIONAL advice.

Call them.

 

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hppygr8ful has 15 years experience and specializes in Psych, Addictions, Elder Care, L&D.

6 Followers; 3 Articles; 2,891 Posts; 32,951 Profile Views

Question? Which law office is calling the complainant or respondent?

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215 Posts; 2,765 Profile Views

I would love if you could keep us updated. I work in LTC and an always worried about these type of cases.

I think that in general, if you were not grossly negligent, or had intentionally harmed the patient, I cannot see how they can sue you? Was the patient transported immediately to ER? If there wasn’t a gross delay in care it seems like this law suit would go nowhere. 
I find it ridiculous how families honestly believe that 100% of falls can be prevented. 

I agree with the prior posters about calling the NSO, they are the only ones on your side. I’m sure the LTCs lawyer wants to find you liable for something so they can pin anything on you to free their a**. Also, if anything, I would ask for their lawyer correspondence via email. If they have questions, ask them to email those to you without answering anything. Lawyers love time commitments, do NOT give them a time frame on when you’ll get back to them. Then forward the questions right to YOUR lawyer! That way you can anticipate, or at least draw a conclusion, on where they are trying to aim this lawsuit to. A lawyer might not fall for sending you the questions via email, but be insistent, consistent, and just as aggressive as they are.  If you are the type of person who avoids conflict, or gets easily intimidated then don’t call them. They will usually try to get something out of you one way or another, let your lawyer handle it. 
 

I’m sorry you are in this situation, I think it’s in every nurses nightmares. 

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19 Posts; 117 Profile Views

I had that happen to me however the facility had a company remove the side rails on beds per state policy for no restraints and the patient died as a result. They did not lower the patients beds or mattress to the floor which I was in the process of trying to do. They were a hospice patient however they had extensive traumatic head injury

Edited by Fun4two

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215 Posts; 2,765 Profile Views

I fond the concept of bed rails as being considered a restraint to be so stupid. More residents get hurt because of no rails. And I have seen seniors hurt by bed rails, but more often then not, they are hurt for not having one. 
 In our state we can have rails but needs a RX, DPOA consent and documentation in the careplan. However, residents who are motivated will fall out of bed regardless of having rails or not. It just provides a little more security for the resident and the aids when turning or providing care for bed bound patients. 
 

Still though, it’s like they *want* seniors to die sometimes. 
 

Ever tried turning a patient on an air mattress without bedrails? It’s like begging for a fall. 

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19 Posts; 117 Profile Views

I did not really understand that either and I need them on my bed actually cause I have rolled off of it before. I was very upset when that happened to me while I was working and I felt beyond awful for the patient. I was in the middle of instructing everyone in the facility to help everyone to lower them to the floor but I was about 10 minutes to late. I will never forget the injury and how furious I was and it still something I live with. That’s why I am so excited to return and do better this time and really show what I’m capable of and that nursing can work. I’m just a few years behind with not knowing I could work being out of state in a program with separate health monitoring.  I want to learn up to the adon and I may not need to go any further with that salary unless I want to continue to pursue law school for my personal goals. I’m just excited to return to this and make a difference. I wanted to use the area I’m from with my mental health providers and local support organizations and drug testing facilities. I use two different states and work in the third one. It’s wild I think

Edited by Fun4two

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6 Posts; 646 Profile Views

By far, the best advice I’ve seen given is to retain a lawyer and do not speak to the facilities lawyer or the patient’s family’s lawyer. Let your lawyer do the work. Yes, it may cost you some money but as always in nursing CYOA. Plain and simple. And do you carry your own insurance, like malpractice? That may factor in, as they’ll sue anyone they think may have something they can get. And did you chart the incident etc? Documentation is very important and to do it as objectively as you can. And always tell the truth. 

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B52 has 9 years experience as a ADN, BSN, RN and specializes in Psych, Substance Abuse.

167 Posts; 5,158 Profile Views

Decline the interview and call NSO.

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735 Posts; 9,171 Profile Views

Call your nursing malpractice provider, you should have representation present or at least their advice first.   Your insurance will provide an attorney for you.  If you don’t have insurance, you’re on your own to hire a nursing specialist attorney for advice.

The facility will goat you in a heartbeat, they are not on your side in this, despite whey they may say to the contrary.

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MunoRN has 10 years experience as a RN and specializes in Critical Care.

1 Follower; 6,451 Posts; 66,399 Profile Views

NSO doesn't provide coverage for personal legal representation for this type of meeting, if you are at some point called for a deposition then NSO does provide deposition representation, but in my experience this only involves a lawyer telling you via phone call to tell the truth and not offer more than what is asked, which is the same thing your employer's lawyers will tell you.  

Generally it doesn't benefit you to be uncooperative at this point.  Even though it's true that generally employers are looking out for themselves more than for you, their best way of limiting their liability is to limit your liability.  One of the main things that might cause them to decide to turn on you is if they are concerned you are going to uncooperative through the process.  

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Jory has 10 years experience as a MSN, APRN, CNM.

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You don't work for that company anymore and no way would I go in for that interview.  

DO NOT call your personal insurance carrier UNLESS you get a subpoena to appear in court.  

Tell them you simply don't want to get involved because you don't work for that agency anymore and you are under no obligation to even return their calls nor emails.  

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