By Dan Clifford, publisher
Comments by Rosemary McGeady, JD, MD
• The Gist: LNCs are appearing in court more often than in the past, and nurses increasingly are allowed greater leeway in standard of care and even causation testimony.
Legal Nurse Consultants are involved in litigation — and mostly in a good way.
Research into readily available case law found that the term “legal nurse consultant” appears more commonly than in the past. A search for “legal nurse consultant” yielded about 20 cases where the phrase had been used in a court opinion. Half of the cases were from 2006 or later. Another five were from 2000 or later; three were from the late 90s and the earliest reference was to a case in 1993. Clearly, LNCs are making inroads into litigation and their use is mushrooming.
In the cases, no LNC had ever been sued for professional malpractice related to medical judgment, but one LNC was associated with a suit where a failure to redact a name from medical records was the basis of the action. At least another three cases involved fact patterns where an LNC could have had legal exposure.
Most of the cases involved LNCs who were testifying as experts, though the LNCs’ clinical credentials and expertise were the basis for their testimony, not their status as LNCs. This distinction is important.
LNCs as witnesses
A recent case of note about LNCs working as expert witnesses is Vela v. State of Texas, 209 S.W.3d 172 (Tex. Crim. App. 2006)…