Medical malpractice can cost one his or her life. It is important to find justice for yourself or a loved one if it does occur. One such dangerous misdiagnosis is lung cancer. When lung cancer is misdiagnosed, it can spread. Valuable time can be lost in treating the cancer. Legal Nurse Consultants look at cases of malpractice and discover if malpractice did occur or not. They can serve either the primary physician or the patient seeking compensation. They usually work in concert with the legal team as an expert witness or investigator.
The article, “Is lung cancer misdiagnosis medical malpractice?” from Streetinsider.com looks at the dangers of lung cancer and the options to review for a malpractice case. The article states,
“When doctors miss lung cancer, they delay a patient’s treatment. This can allow the cancer to spread to other areas of the body. It also subjects the patient to more aggressive and more invasive treatment in the future. In the most devastating cases, a patient dies because their doctor misdiagnosed their lung cancer. ”
A Legal Nurse Consultant can play a key role in diagnosing lung cancer malpractice by examining the records and determining if all the norms of diagnosis were properly carried out by the physician. Please also review our Legal Nurse Consultant Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.
Malpractice suites are a large reality in Healthcare. When a person enters into a healthcare facility, they hope for the best. Everyone wishes and hopes for a successful procedure and receive optimum care. Physicians and other healthcare providers also hope to treat a patient successfully without error.
Error does happen and is a reality in the healthcare world. Physicians, surgeons and nurses can all make mistakes. While some healthcare professionals may be innocent, many are liable for the errors they make with a patient. These errors are later legally fought in court with opposing attorneys whose expertise is in healthcare and malpractice law. Legal Nurse Consultants play a large role in aiding legal teams in determining error.
So what is malpractice? According to the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys there are a variety of errors that constitute malpractice. Some of the errors include failure to comply with standards within the practice or the nature of the injury. Was the injury caused by negligence and was it significant enough? (1)
Here are a few examples of errors; Failure to diagnose or to even misdiagnose, misread lab results, unnecessary surgery, surgical errors, improper medication or dosing, poor after care, premature discharge of patient, reporting improper patient information, improper testing, and failure to recognize symptoms. (2)
These types of errors lead to multiple malpractice cases in the United States. Legal Nurse Consultants play key roles in determining if procedure deviating from standards. Nurses themselves can be become subjects of inquiry if they fail to properly report and observe the patient. It is critical for nurses to report and chart information regarding patient care. When nurses deviate from these safe and proper practices, they can fall under suspicion if a malpractice case does occur. Nurses can make errors but many times they can protect themselves from liability by simply properly charting.
In essence, medical malpractice revolves around the concept of a breach of contract and a failure to comply within a certain standard of care. The history of malpractice goes back to the very beginning of America’s conception. In the case, a man sued due to his wife’s death during a surgery. He was awarded 40 pounds. (3) Today medical malpractice is a a common theme unfortunately in healthcare.
Today in the United States, 225,000 people die from some type of malpractice. A 2002 review showed that 195,000 deaths in hospitals were completely preventable. Another statistic showed that 12,000 deaths occurred due to unnecessary surgeries. (4)
These alarming statistics show the need for individuals to find the help they need. Unfortunately, only 2 percent of those injured due to malpractice ever file a claim. (5) While some cases may not be the healthcare providers error, there are so many cases where patients suffer due to medical error. Attorneys and Legal nurse consultants can play big roles in bringing justice to these patients.
The malpractice firms are able to determine if standards were met and if the patient was wrongfully injured. When this standard of care is not met, an investigation ensures. After determining if there is plausible case that the patient was wrongly injured, an attorney begins to access the financial reward of the case. In these types of cases, the age of the patient, the extent of injury, and the loss of earning are all calculated.
Legal nurse consultants help attorneys in determining the standards of care and if they were met in accessing negligence. Legal Nurse Consultants help in a variety of ways. They can investigate the case, review records and help come to a conclusion if proper care was received. Legal Nurse Consultants can also play a pivotal role in expert testimony of cases. Legal Nurse Consultants are heavily relied upon my numerous malpractice firms.
Nurses looking to diversify their career can become Legal nurse consultants. The statistics for malpractice dictate a huge need for qualified professionals. Nurses can take their medical and procedure knowledge to the court room. This requires some training on the part of the nurse. A good Legal Nurse Consulting Program can transfer a nurse into a legal aide to multiple firms dealing with malpractice cases.
Nurse can fit that need and find a alternate and side career in helping patients find justice. Nurses can also help defend healthcare providers who have been falsely accused.
The American College of Legal Nursing can offer the training and knowledge and needed to make the jump from the hospital floor to the court room. The American College of Legal Nursing offers online courses for nurses. The courses are independent study. The courses are also open enrollment. Each course has an instructor to help aid the student through the certification process. The student can utilize the instructor as much or as little as needed. The student can proceed as quickly as he or she wishes. This enables working professionals the flexibility needed to focus on their careers while they also study through the program.
The four online and independent study courses are designed to help the student understand the basics of legal nurse consulting. The program helps prepare the student to become an efficient and successful Legal Nurse Consultant. The final course culminates the information learned and helps prepare the student for reading and preparing briefs. After completing the four courses, a student can apply for a four year certification. The certification can be renewed after four years. The student is required during that time to accumulate 500 hours of clinical and practical work, as well as 50 hours of continuing education.
The College of Legal Nurse Consulting only accepts nurses into the program. It looks to help nurses make the transition into a successful legal nursing career. Nurses can play a pivotal role in this vital need and their knowledge of floor procedure are valuable assets to any malpractice firm. With a certification from the American College of Legal Nursing, a nurse can confidentially present their skill set to malpractice firms.
If you are interested in becoming a Legal Nurse Consultant and possess the knowledge and desire to enter into this field, then please review the program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals. You could then soon enter into an exciting career of Legal Nurse Consulting.
American Institute Health Care Professionals‘s insight:
This is an excellent video describing and explaining what a legal nurse consultant does and how to become certified as a legal nurse consultant. The video introduces you to the American Institute of Health Care Professionals as organization that can help one achieve certification. If you are interested in pursuing a legal nurse education then you should check out our website. Everything is available via distance learning and online material. Isn’t it time you advanced your nursing career and entered into a rewarding field?
The article, “Altered Medical Records, Lose the Case: Part I”, by David Mittleman
“Altering medical records is no laughing matter and for doctors involved in medical malpractice suits it could mean the kiss of death Take for example a New York jury who recently awarded”
American Institute Health Care Professionals‘s insight:
A good review of committing fraud by altering medical records. Altered medical records can lead to law suits and more importantly personal injury. Any legal nurse consultant should read this and know what to look for and how to prevent records from being altered. If you feel you need more information you should study up by taking legal nursing courses. Again this article is Highly recommended!
A legal nurse consultant combines medical and legal fields to provide expert advice to healthcare and legal professionals. They must complete a diploma, associates, or bachelors degree program in nursing, obtaining a registered nursing license current in the state they are working in. A legal nurse consultant must also have a strong background in legal issues such as legal terminology, ethics, the US legal system, and criminal law. In order to succeed in this position, the legal nurse consultant should have superb communication skills, both verbal and written, that enable them to express medical and legal information in an understandable way. They can hold positions in many areas such as medical facilities, law firms, insurance companies, government agencies and have independent practices. They provide expert advice on standards of health care, medical malpractice, and other legal and medical issues. They are trained to evaluate administrative and clerical nursing practices for professionals and consumers. They are in a position to act as a liaison for cases and claims in the legal and medical fields. The average income for this job is $82,000 annually.Jay Angelo
A legal nurse consultant is a registered nurse that has been extensively educated and trained in the area of health care malpractice law. They come to this position with extensive backgrounds in health care, nursing and care delivery. Their health care knowledge and skills provides them a real opportunity to be of great asset in cases of malpractice. Many law firms and self-employed lawyers are seeking the services of legal nurse consultants to assist in them in preparing for litigation of cases. The nurse works to assist the lawyers in understanding medical terms and conditions and diagnostic procedures. They review patients’ medical records and also identify deviations from the standards of care. Lawyers find that they are invaluable in assisting in such cases. Their presence in the legal world is becoming more solid. More nurses are entering this field of specialization today. The curriculums for education are very intense and the nurses spend a great deal of time studying the elements of malpractice related to deviations in the standards of care.
One of the most difficult things that a family member can go through is having to make a important medical decision regarding a loved one who is unable to speak for himself or herself. The stress of making such a decision in a hospital or nursing home can be overwhelming to those making the decision. Additionally, if there is any disagreement within the family about what course of medical action to take regarding the loved one, the situation can only become worse. The living will can help relieve some of the burden in difficult times when a difficult medical decision is required.
The living will is a type of advanced health care directive used to instruct medical personnel about what measures to take on a patient who is incapacitated and unable to make informed decisions about his or her healthcare. Two other forms of advanced health care directives include a power of attorney and a health care proxy. The various directive forms work alone or in tandem to provide instruction to doctors and nurses. It is important not to confuse a living will with a living trust, which is a form of estate planning that distributes a person’s assets after his or her death. This information is brought to you by our legal nurse consultation post on our blog.
It is essential to have a living will because it informs medical personnel and your family of what kind of medical treatment you want in case you are unable to speak for yourself. This can include instructions for what you want to happen in the event of an accident that leaves you in a permanent vegetative state or instructions how to handle your medical care if you have a terminal illness which progresses to the point of you being incapacitated. A living will should be written by a lawyer to ensure that it is legal and will serve its purpose if the need arises.
Understanding the Living Will
A living will generally describes the types of treatment you desire in the event you become incapacitated. For example, if you are in a vegetative state after an accident or other medical event, a living will can instruct your doctors whether or not to keep you alive through the use of ventilators, feeding tubes or other medical means. Other treatments often described in a living will include whether to administer pain relief, perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or provide hydration.
The living will only becomes effective if a doctor certifies you as being terminally ill or otherwise permanently incapacitated. For example, if you have a heart attack and are unconscious laying in a hospital, but expected to recover and regain consciousness, your living will does not come into effect. You will still receive life saving medical treatment even though your living will stipulates that you do not want life prolonging medical procedures. That is an important distinction and essential to understand. A living will only comes into effect if you are terminally ill, in a permanent vegetative state or permanently mentally incapacitated.
If the situation ever arises where you are incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself, but your medical condition is not terminal or permanent, you should use a health care power of attorney or a health care proxy. Either one of these documents allow you to provide a third party, usually a family member or close friend, the legal authority to make health care decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to express your wishes.
Being proactive and having both a health care proxy and the living will is both a responsible and loving thing to do. It removes the burden of making extremely difficult decisions from your family members if and when the time arrives. You do not need to be terminally ill to have the living will.
Creating a Living Will
To set up the living will and health care power of attorney, consult a lawyer who specializes in these documents in the state where you live. But before you consult with a lawyer, talk to your doctor about the different scenarios when a living will might be needed and what your options are for each scenario. It’s important to make an informed decision now, so your wishes are known in the event the living will becomes effective. Each state has slightly different variations in terminology and living will laws so a lawyer’s help is crucial. Additionally, once your living will is written, keep it in a safe place. Make sure your doctor and the person you select to have health care power of attorney know of its existence. Your living will does no good to you if nobody knows that it has been written. For more information on health care directives, you may want to consult a legal nurse consultant.
While the primary vocational call of a nurse is to provide direct care to patients at the bedside, many nurses are hoping to enhance their career scope and enter into other exciting nursing fields beyond the bedside. Legal nurses have the ability to work on legal issues that pertain to nursing and also to many other health care professionals. A major role of a legal nurse consultant is to provide expert witness testimony. In such cases, this nurse expert will actually develop a case related to officially recognized standards of nursing care. In the expert role, the nurse will then present the standards of care in the court room and demonstrate to the jury just how and why there were deviations from the standards of care. Why this type of work is research intensive and professionally challenging, the high benefits of having a nurse testify in a case has been established. Besides having skills and knowledge in issue related to nursing malpractice, the nurse must also have considerable expertise in the clinical practice area of the nursing specialty for which the malpractice case is being heard. Nurse expert witnesses are in high demand today.
By: Sylvia Bradford Whenever some medical-related litigation cases occur, it is often the job of the legal nurse consultant to work hand in hand with attorneys to be able to review and evaluate the case. They usually deal with medical and nursing malpractice, personal injuries or almost any medically-related case which calls for a sufficient medical knowledge from the field. But before anything else, perhaps you might be wondering what these legal nurse consultants are and what they tend to do for a living. To provide insight into their practice, let us take some time to understand this practice specialty.
A legal nurse consultant is a registered nurse and will be the one to perform such tasks as critical analysis of clinical and administrative practice and deal with any other healthcare issues. They act as the bridge between the medical and legal system. They often possess professional insight in both health and medical aspects and legal guidelines at the same time. However, you have to take note that these consultants are nursing experts and not merely paralegals. That is, they specialize more on the field of nursing and health care and are often considered to be experts in these fields.
What are the roles of a legal nurse consultant?
There are indeed a lot of important roles of the legal nurse consultant. To provide you with a deeper understanding of the various important roles that a legal nurse consultant plays, let us review them.
1. Reviewing and Researching Medical Records
Medical records are among the most important things to consider in any medical-related case. As legal nurse consultants, it is their responsibility to review and research medical records which are relevant to the case. This will help in determining the type of medical negligence as well as to identify any medical records which might possibly have been missing or else tampered. The medical records in turn will also provide the legal nurse consultant additional knowledge regarding the type of service being provided to the client. They will often develop time-lines for the incident of care in question so that attorneys may better understand the process of care and determine issues of negligence.
2. Investigation and Thorough Analysis of the Case
It is very vital for a legal nurse consultant to make several investigations and analysis of a particular case. Being a case investigator, there are in fact a lot of services which a legal nurse consulting should be able to provide to his/her clients. These may include such services as the investigation of any fraud within the government funded agencies and also researching whether or not the victim is applicable for compensation and claims. They particularly focus on standards of care related to the case they are working on. They provide expert analysis on defining the appropriate standards of care and assisting the legal team to identify the types of testifying experts to call into the case for deposition and trial testimony to support allegations of deviations from standards of care.
3. Expert Witness Testimony
Attorneys frequently hire legal nurse consultants to provide actual expert witness testimony. In such cases, the legal nurse will provide a deposition and actually testimony in trials. In these cases, the legal nurse may only testify to deviations from standards of nursing practice and not issues of medical standards of care. They may be retained to provide testimony for either defendants or plaintiffs. Their testimony can be invaluable to the outcomes of such cases.
4. Deposition and Trial Consultant
It will be somewhat challenging for an expert attorney doing all of the tasks themselves regarding a particular case. That is why retaining a legal nurse consultant can be extremely beneficial. Legal nurses assist in the preparation of depositions for trial. They assist attorneys in developing appropriate questions to ask in depositions related to the medical and/or nursing aspects of the case. They are frequently seen with the attorney’s team in the court room during a malpractice or personal injury trial.
5. Research and Education
One of the primary roles of the legal nurse is to conduct extensive research for the legal team. Along with this role they also function as primary educators for the legal team. They will review and study many sources of standards of care and then educate the team on how the standards related to the case in question. They teach the legal team the meaning of important medical terms related to the case as well. The legal nurse is the health care expert on the team and her/his knowledge and research and teaching abilities are central to the legal team pursuing a litigation or a defense.
Where do they Practice?
There are many areas that legal nurse consultants practice in today. Some include the following:
In their own practices as independent contractors
In legal firms
In hospital risk management departments
In personal injury and malpractice insurance organizations
In nursing education and staff development
In government agencies
In firms specializing in trial consulting
In legal research departments
The role of the legal nurse consultant isn’t just an ordinary practice. It is a high-level practice that merges the legal world with the health care world. Over the years more and more registered nurses are choosing to enter this specialty practice. While the stress in this position is very high, the rewards and economic benefits can be excellent. Do you want more comprehensive information about legal nurse consulting? Access here