Ever testified in court? Need advice...

  1. I recently have been summoned to court to testify for a chemical analysis drawn for legal purposes (I was the drawing personnel in ER). I have spoken with districy atty. and I am testifyig re: m role in blood draw and chain of custody. The pt sustained such traumatic injury that I stated on consent that pt was unable to reliably refuse or consent to draw. Anyone experienced this in the past? The patient was treated over one year ago and my recollection is foggy. Medical record is in limbo between hospital and microfiche stored off grounds. Suspect court date will arrive before medical record of pt's condition. Have chemical analysis consent paperwork and that's all. Anyone's info on past experience/knowledge would be helpful in preparing me mentally for coming situation. I am a nervous wreck! Thanks!
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    About amy

    Joined: Jul '01; Posts: 168; Likes: 11
    ER nurse


  3. by   baseline
    I have testified on several occasions for blood alcohol draws. I am a little confused by your post, but no one should make you testify withour benefit of your medical record. I would ask the DA about this! Don't speculate on the stand. If you don't remember, state you don't remember. I have been drilled on times, what and or whose watch did I use to determine the time, (it was a time factor case and fortunately, I used the arresting officers watch for consistency), technique....how did you cleanse the skin, whose blood tubes did you use...eg hospitals, or a kit provided by officer.

    It is nerve racking, but remember, you are not on trial.
  4. by   RNonsense
    Have NO experience here but wanted to send you good thoughts...
  5. by   cmggriff
    Amy, I too have been on the stand to testify re: the method of blood draw and the chain of evidence. In one case the prosecuting attorney asked me to a question about mixing ETOH and valium. That was his mistake as I am not a toxicologist. I got grilled by the defense attorney about my reply. The defense tried to make me angry and imply that I was incompetent. I remembered that I was not the one on trial.
    Speak to what you can honestly answer to and admit ignorance whereever you need to. You'll do fine. Good luck, Gary
  6. by   sjoe
    Amy, it is not clear to me that you are not on trial, or could not be some day, regarding whatever happened between you and this patient.

    You need to protect yourself by:

    1) talking with the DA's office (maybe the assistant DA would have more time to talk than the DA) about your misgivings, what is expected of you, etc. someone should be preparing you to testify, and they apparently are not doing so. seek your own legal advice before you testify if you still have misgivings--you can get a very low-cost referral from your local BAR association

    2) volunteer NOTHING when on the stand. just answer any question you can clearly remember, with as short an answer as possible. don't go into any long explanations, regardless. "I don't recall" is a perfectly acceptable answer when there is ANY doubt in your mind about it.

    It's never fun.

    Best wishes,
  7. by   kaycee
    I had to testify in a rape trial. The ADA told me to answer questions with short direct answers, in other words yes, no, or I don't remember. If I had to say more it was still short and to the point. I focused of looking only at the ADA and the defense attorney when they asked me questions. I never looked at the jury. It was nerve racking but I did ok and the guy was convicted.
  8. by   cactus wren
    Your hospital should have an attorny available to you to talk with regarding expectations regarding testimony....I, too, was told, to answer questions...yes...no...I don`t remember...and not to elaborate unless asked, then make it as short as possible...
  9. by   amy
    Thanks to all who took the time to reply. Since my post, I have had the opportunity to speak with the hospital atty (I am no longer employed there) and the ADA. Med record is on it's way, and I even have been provided with a copy of chemical analysis procedure for reference prior to trial. It is correct that I am not being sued personally. I am going to trial coming up in the next week. I will keep you posted!!! Thanks again everyone!!! I really appreciate you all for words of support and advice. Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you all!