order in the court
Skip this Video
Download Presentation
Order In the Court

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 33

Order In the Court - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on

Order In the Court. Lessons from Twenty Years As An Expert Witness. Terry C. Wicks, CRNA, MHS Catawba Valley Medical Center Hickory, North Carolina. Presentation Overview. Disclaimer Staying Out of Trouble A Few Legal Points and Definitions What Plaintiff’s Attorneys Want

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'Order In the Court' - milt

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
order in the court

Order In the Court

Lessons from Twenty Years As An Expert Witness

Terry C. Wicks, CRNA, MHS

Catawba Valley Medical Center

Hickory, North Carolina

presentation overview
Presentation Overview
  • Disclaimer
  • Staying Out of Trouble
  • A Few Legal Points and Definitions
  • What Plaintiff’s Attorneys Want
  • What Defense Attorneys Want
  • Being a Competent “Expert” Witness
  • I am not an attorney…(but I did see “The Verdict” three times)
  • I did not intend to become an “expert” witness.
    • I was asked
    • I tried to get out of it but…
    • There’s a lot of work to be done…
    • …and the money is pretty good.
  • I am not infallible and I am still learning.
  • This presentation is not a substitute for legal counsel…
  • When a suit is brought it’s means that’s there has been a disaster for everyone except for you and the attorneys:
    • The patient
    • The patient’s family
    • The anesthesia provider
    • The anesthesia provider’s family
  • As an expert, embrace your responsibility with the appropriate commitment to the profession and to justice (you will be the alone in this regard).
staying out of trouble
Staying out of Trouble
  • Be familiar with and practice within written AANA Standards of Practice
    • Code of Ethics for the Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
    • Scope and Standards for Nurse Anesthesia Practice
    • Standards for Office Based Anesthesia Practice
    • Post Anesthesia Care Standards for CRNA
    • Guidelines for the Management of the Obstetrical Patient for CRNAs
    • Care for your patients like you would a member of your family
  • All available for free at AANA.com
common problems
Common Problems
  • Incomplete or inadequate evaluation: Would a more thorough or timely evaluation materially helped to avoid the injury?
  • Improper Monitoring
    • Failure to meet monitoring standards
    • Lapses of vigilance
    • Blood Loss
  • Airway Misadventures that result in anoxic or hypoxic brain injuries.
  • Nerve Injuries: Mechanical or drug induced
negligence is all about
Negligence is all about…
  • A duty of care
  • Breach of that duty
  • Injury
  • Causation
duty of due care
Duty of Due Care

The Duty of Due Care requires all persons to conduct themselves as a reasonably prudent person would do in similar circumstances.

How do we define reasonable?

  • Not perfect, or best care, but what a reasonable and ordinary clinician would chose.
  • Local v State v National Standards
breach of duty
Breach of Duty
  • Expert Witnesses
    • Establish the Standard of Care
    • Show that a breach of that standard occurred.
  • The expert must be professionally qualified
injury causation
Injury & Causation
  • The injury would not have occurred but for the defendant’s act or:
  • The injury was a foreseeable result of negligent conduct.
res ipsa loquitor
Res IpsaLoquitor
  • The defendant had a duty to act reasonably.
  • The injury ordinarily would not occur in the absence of negligence.
  • The defendant must have exclusive control of the apparent cause (may be the “right” of control v actual control).
  • The plaintiff could not have contributed to the injury
respondeat superior
Respondeat Superior
  • Hospitals, clinics, and physicians can be held responsible for the negligence of their agents or employees.
  • Is not based on employment status but rather, whether the person being employed was under the direction and control of the superior.
informed consent
Informed Consent
  • The nature and purpose of the procedure
  • The most significant risks
  • Benefits of the intervention
  • The probable outcome of the intervention
  • Possible alternatives
  • The patient must be free from coercion
patient relations
Patient Relations
  • There is no substitute for good patient relations
    • “In every lawsuit, somebody’s angry” Mark VanderLinden, BSN, JD, CPHRM, Risk Control Consultant at CNA.
    • Disclosure of Adverse Events
    • Apologies help
    • Communication
  • Results: Patients are more likely to be satisfied when informed about what happened, cases are more likely to be resolved quickly and in an amicable manner.
anesthesia records
Anesthesia Records
  • Written records need to be complete & legible
  • Anesthesia records:
    • Chronicle the pt’s response to surgery and anesthesia
    • Allows recreation of the anesthetic episode at a later date
    • Periodically turn your attention from other matters of importance back to the patient(set the alarms!)
  • In general, what isn’t documented didn’t happen…most anesthesia records are atrocious.
initial steps if sued
Initial Steps if Sued
  • Notify your carrier if you believe or know that you are going to be sued e.g. your medical records department gets a request for records.
  • Never change, alter, or amend the record.
  • Meet with Counsel as soon as possible.
  • Don’t discuss the case with other potential defendants. Address and send any notes to your attorney.
hot seat survival tips
Hot Seat Survival Tips
  • Know your science
    • Stay current
    • Review periodically
    • Know your habits
  • Use terms of art precisely
    • Don’t use jargon
    • Correct Counsel’s misuse of terms
an ideal client
An Ideal Client
  • Be active in your own defense
  • Be part of your attorney’s team
  • Stay in touch with your attorney, leave plenty of time for preparation for deposition.
  • Dress for success.
just answer the question
Just answer the question
  • Don’t guess, be as precise as possible.
  • An estimate is just an estimate.
  • Be brief in your answers, don’t elaborate, don’t be evasive.
  • Your conversations with your attorney are confidential
  • Stay calm & never, ever, lie…or make stuff up.
rules of self defense
Rules of Self Defense
  • There are no stupid attorneys
    • Chameleons
    • Bullies
    • Sweet talkers
  • They know the law, but…
  • You know anesthesia… well, you should anyway.
expert requirements
Expert Requirements
  • The Expert Witness must be familiar with the jurisdiction’s standard of care requirements.
  • The Expert must be professionally qualified:
    • Education
    • Experience
    • Practice
the plaintiff s counsel
The Plaintiff’s Counsel
  • Is the issue clear cut (can you connect the dots)?
  • Are the damages astronomical?
  • What is the age of the client?
  • How will the client appear to the jury?
the plaintiff s counsel1
The Plaintiff’s Counsel
  • Was there negligence?
    • Breach of the standard of care
    • Failure to follow policy
  • Does causality exist?
  • Does the record validate the claim?
the plaintiff s counsel2
The Plaintiff’s Counsel

Expert characteristics

  • Professional experience
    • Match for age, experience, education and practice of the defendant
    • Presentation
  • Testimony experience
    • Price
    • Work both sides of the street
defense counsel
Defense Counsel
  • The attorney will have interviewed the client, and reviewed the chart.
  • What happened and how is it charted? They look for:
    • Errors
    • Omissions
    • Inconsistencies
    • Other problems
  • What is the extent of the injury and how unusual is it?
counsel for the defense
Counsel for the Defense
  • What does an unbiased expert say about the case?
    • Strong education & training
    • Experience
    • Gives candid assessment of the problem
  • Is the event so rare that the standard of care could not have contemplated the event?
  • How does the defendant, and the expert, present themselves?
counsel for the defense1
Counsel for the Defense
  • Witness/Expert Intangibles:
    • Arrogance and condescension are poison
    • Good communication skills
    • Strong positive presence
  • What is the venue, is it hospital/physician friendly or hostile
  • Who is across the table?

Does the defense have a credible story and credible witness?

an expert s opinion
An Expert’s Opinion
  • Read everything that is sent to you thoroughly
    • Compare your impressions with known standards
    • You are not required to memorize the record
  • Be certain of your opinions
  • Discuss them candidly with Counsel
    • Counsel wants your honest opinion, identify the problems
    • They may or may not choose to use you

“I am an expert because I say I am…” Don Henley, The Garden of Allah

everything s discoverable
Everything’s Discoverable
  • Your previous expert testimony history in deposition and at trial
  • Your frequency with which you provide expert opinion or testimony
  • Your fee schedule and it’s percentage of your income
  • Your notes
      • Notes help you organize your thoughts
      • They are discoverable
  • Letters and emails to and from Counsel
sworn testimony
Sworn Testimony

Deposition Testimony

  • is sworn testimony
  • Is less formal than a trial
  • Is always recorded & may be video taped
  • Is for the discovery and affirmation of facts and opinions

Trial Testimony

  • Is sworn testimony
  • Is more formal than a deposition
  • Is always recorded & usually given before a jury
  • Is about the education and persuasion of the jury
expert deposition
Expert Deposition
  • Be prepared
  • Be succinct
    • Answer briefly and precisely
    • Don’t elaborate unnecessarily
  • Always be honest
  • Always dress professionally
  • Always be polite
going to trial hopefully not
Going to Trial? Hopefully Not.
  • The Plaintiffs counsel doesn’t want to go to trial
    • Expensive
    • Time consuming
    • They may not get paid
  • The Defense counsel does not want to go to trial
    • Expensive
    • Time consuming
    • They may pay out a lot more money
  • The Court prefers that the case settle: See above.
questions discussion

Questions & Discussion

[email protected]

“Honesty is the best policy” Cervantes