Discuss a case with the hospital's lawyer?

Nurses General Nursing

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Need advice: I (RN) was contacted by my former employer's lawyer to meet and discuss a case which might lead to a lawsuit. The lawyer said the reason for the meeting is to determine who needs to testify in court. He wants to meet at a café. How can I verify that he is really who he says he is. What kind of information can I give? Should I meet at all?

Daytonite, BSN, RN

1 Article; 14,603 Posts

Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt.

Call the administrative office, the nursing office or the human resource office and ask them to verify that lawyer is someone employed by the facility before you have any further contact with him. You can demand that the lawyer make all contact with you through someone at the facility from now on.

caliotter3

38,333 Posts

Contact your provider and see if they want you to obtain your own attorney first. It is strange that this person wants to meet you in a nonprofessional setting. I wouldn't go without the advice of my own attorney first.

Jarnaes

320 Posts

Specializes in US Army.

Sounds very shady... This may be someone from the plaintiff's side fishing for info about the case, to get some dirty details or acquire info that wouldn't otherwise be released... I wouldn't go unless advised to do so by my attorney.

Freedom42

914 Posts

If you don't want to meet with him, don't. Tell him you'd be more comfortable if he obtained a subpoena for deposition. If you receive the subpoena, turn it over to your malpractice carrier and let them represent you from there.

Music in My Heart

1 Article; 4,109 Posts

Specializes in being a Credible Source.

Without more information, I would respond only to a subpoena unless advised to do otherwise by my own attorney. I would also refuse to meet anywhere except at an attorney's office. I would probably refuse to answer any questions without a court reporter providing an official transcription of the questions and answers.

lindarn

1,982 Posts

Plaintiff lawyers DO go "fishing around" to see what information they can obtain. And they are not above "pretending" to be on the defense side.

This is a situation that happened in the hospital where I used to work. A woman came in to the Neuro ICU, who had been thrown off of a horse.

She was given a very thorough exam and assessment by the neuro nurse who admitted her. The surgeon hesitated to operate because sometimes it is better to take a "wait and see" attitude before rushing into surgery.

Well, the injury to her spinal cord extended, and she ended up a quad. She was suing the neurosurgeon for malpractice.

Well, the very experienced neuro nurse agreed that the outcome would not have been different if she had surgery, and backed him 100%.

She gets a call from an attorney who said that he was working on the case, and led her to believe that he was on the hospital's side. She met with him, gave him a ton of information about the case, and it turned out that he was working for the plaintiff.

When she realized that she had been tricked, she was furious. She was even more mad when she was subpoened by the plaintiff to testify on her side, against the doctor and hospital.

So, yes, call the hospital 's Risk Management, and ask them if he is who he says he is. By the way, the plaintiff got several million dollars in the law suit, andwhen she is hospitalized for any complication, even in the ICU, she is allowed to have her own private duty nurse.

Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN

Spokane, Washington

LHH1996

90 Posts

Specializes in Acute Care/ LTC.

usually human resources would be involved and coordinate that with you. i agree with earlier post...don't do anything without talking to HR first.

Specializes in Flight, ER, Transport, ICU/Critical Care.

I'm going to agree with the rest and advise that you DO NOT go -

but, I'm going to add

1. Contact him and get his name, contact number and office info

2. Call the state Bar Association and verify practice details (follow up as necessary - color me manipulative and evil but if this attorney was pulling monkey business, I'd make sure his take "away point" would be to note that I may be a nurse, but nurses are really smart - if you know what I mean!) :devil:

3. Call the healthcare facility where you used to work and call the CEO (not HR) and do not discuss any detail other the request that this attorney made and the setting that he requested and detail this with the hospitals attorney

4. Above all else - and this is IMPORTANT - none of these folks (attorney, former employer) has your BEST INTERESTS in mind - so, I say just say no - thank you - but, NO. They can legally force your testimony - it is not being difficult, just self protective

5. I hope that you have your own malpractice. If so, call them ASAP (I'd probably do the verify "thing" with the attorney that called me and assuming he did not check out - I'd teach him as lesson and then call ;) - I do hate some lawyers and I am less tolerant of dirty tricks than I was early in my career (errr, I've had a shaping experience or two! :angryfire ).

If you do not have a carrier you may find value in hiring your own attorney (find a nurse attorney if possible) if there are issues that may reflect on your care. It will be expensive - but, may save your practice and license if there are care issues that implicate you as being liable. In any event - you may need guidance and that may be able to be done in an hour or two (at a reasonable cost).

:trout: :trout: Anyway, it sounds fishy to me. :trout: :trout:

Proceed with caution.

This is one area where doing your best, recalling and trying to be helpful can be twisted and work to hurt you.

I am not just trying to scare you - just keeping you attention.

Good Luck.

Freedom42

914 Posts

I would not "coordinate" with HR. HR has only one interest to protect -- and it's not yours.

Vito Andolini

1,451 Posts

Plaintiff lawyers DO go "fishing around" to see what information they can obtain. And they are not above "pretending" to be on the defense side.

This is a situation that happened in the hospital where I used to work. A woman came in to the Neuro ICU, who had been thrown off of a horse.

She was given a very thorough exam and assessment by the neuro nurse who admitted her. The surgeon hesitated to operate because sometimes it is better to take a "wait and see" attitude before rushing into surgery.

Well, the injury to her spinal cord extended, and she ended up a quad. She was suing the neurosurgeon for malpractice.

Well, the very experienced neuro nurse agreed that the outcome would not have been different if she had surgery, and backed him 100%.

She gets a call from an attorney who said that he was working on the case, and led her to believe that he was on the hospital's side. She met with him, gave him a ton of information about the case, and it turned out that he was working for the plaintiff.

When she realized that she had been tricked, she was furious. She was even more mad when she was subpoened by the plaintiff to testify on her side, against the doctor and hospital.

So, yes, call the hospital 's Risk Management, and ask them if he is who he says he is. By the way, the plaintiff got several million dollars in the law suit, andwhen she is hospitalized for any complication, even in the ICU, she is allowed to have her own private duty nurse.

Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN

Spokane, Washington

A private duty nurse seems a small thing, in view of what was done to her by the error of the doctor. She's a quad, after all, presumably can't even scratch her nose. Give her the freakin' pdn, for God's sake.

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

I agree with the suspicions of the other posters. That's not the way those meetings are usually arranged. If he were the hospital's attorney, he would be working with and through them. Your hospital's Risk Manager and your manager would be directly involved. I would get all the information I could from him (name, address, phone number, etc.) and confirm who he is actully working for before going any further.

I would also be contacting the carrier of my own . While I would be inclined to cooperate to some degree with my own employer's lawyer (particularly if I were not the one being sued) ... I would want my own legal representation.

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