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So would this bother anybody?

Discussion in 'Emergency Medicine' started by edinOH, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. edinOH

    edinOH Can I get a work excuse? 7+ Year Member

    Nov 13, 2002
    Tell me if you find this situation troublesome.

    One of the part-time nurses in our ED is also an attorney. He does a good bit of work as a plantiff's attorney in medmal. This is not a secret by any means. He is very vocal (obnoxious) about the work he does and some of the cases he has taken and settled and/or won.

    Most of our docs, especially the seasoned ones, don't look too kindly toward his presence in our ED. He was a nurse before law school, so he already had his foot in our door so to speak long before his new found second career. He's been in law now several years.

    Alot of people have some serious suspicions about him, me included. I doubt he could ever bring a case against any of us regarding a patient encounter we had while he was in or employed in our department, but his presence still stinks. Could he be looking to feed a case to his buddies? This is something many of us are concerned about. What the hell is administration thinking allowing this guy into our ED?

    Plus he is a less than stellar nurse in my experience.;)

    What do you guys think? (docB, Quinn, Apolly, et al)
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  3. FoughtFyr

    FoughtFyr SDN Lifetime Donor Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Mar 19, 2003
    Lawyers are not a protected class, so he could be fired for a presumed conflict of interest. However, would pissing him off be wise? I think there is the reality that he should've been let go when he became a lawyer, now it is a bit stickier.

    Bottom line - he could be fired, should be fired, but probably won't be fired.

    - H
  4. pinbor1

    pinbor1 10+ Year Member

    Jan 9, 2003
    Kansas City, MO
    Bottom line

    Yes he could be feeding cases to his friends. This happens even between defense and plaintiff attorneys. They are able to get a cut of the settlement as well, if I recall correctly it is all done under the table so there is no documentation that they referred the case to someone. I have heard that the cut is about 1/8 of the settlement.

    I would be very concerned about this as well.
  5. VA Hopeful Dr

    VA Hopeful Dr Senior Member Physician 10+ Year Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    If you can catch him feeding cases to local scum-err, lawyers then I'm willing to bet you could then sue the pants off of him for previously mentioned conflict of interest (possibly some HIPAA stuff as well).

    Or at the very least fire him.
  6. Apollyon

    Apollyon Screw the GST Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Nov 24, 2002
    What clicks the creep-ometer on for me is why, if he's a barrister, does he still work at the nursing job? I thought about keeping my paramedic cert as a doc and working on the bus to keep my skills up, but I realized that 1. although people do it (MD, EMT-P), I'm not that motivated and 2. I certainly don't need the money. Moreover, that this guy is so vocal, boy howdy, get your ducks in a row, then ****-can his ass ASAP.

    As far as docs are concerned, I don't know how you can put a happy face on this.
  7. Haemr Head

    Haemr Head 7+ Year Member

    Mar 17, 2007
    If he ever passes any medical info from your department to another attorney, it is a HIPAA violation and you can do a whole lot more to him than simply firing him. Jail time, horrible fines, and I would think the potential to be disbarred for committing a crime, are a few. Hopefully as an attorney he is aware of this.

    I would not fire him for being a medmal lawyer. I would fire him for being a lousy nurse. The easiest solution if he has a lousy rapport with the medical staff is to lobby to have him moved to another area of the hospital.
  8. docB

    docB Chronically painful Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Nov 27, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV
    I don't know that he would be in violation of HIPPA if he gave info to another lawyer because he would presumably have the patient's permission. Usually the hospital policies demanding written premission and so on are more stringent than HIPPA so he might be more likely to run afoul of those.

    I would be quite bothered by his presence. Is he full time? If not, if he's per diem his hours could be ruduced to zero without firing him. Has your hospital risk manager made a comment on this situation?

    I agree, that just stinks and is a disaster waiting to happen.
  9. corpsmanUP

    corpsmanUP Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 8, 2005
    I think you could also put the pressure on him to quit. I would take him into the CEO's office and have every bigwig in the hospital and the hospital attorney present. I would have a stenographer to turn the heat up. This guy is a small time player if he is having to work in the ED to make money, or you are correct in that he is feeding cases. Either way you win. If he is a small time player, having big players intimidate him into quiting should be easy. All you have to do is force him to sign documents that state he is not now, never has, and never will use his job as a nurse to drum up lawyer business. Also let him know that it is your right as a hospital to investigate him anytime they wish, and through any legal means necessary. Make him think you will be watching and following his every move. Give him one chance at immunity right then which would be to resign with a letter of recommendation. Tell him that if he does not resign, that anything you find on him related to previous, current, or future infractions will be punished to the fullest extent of the hospital's resources. Explain to him how the hospital would take immense pleasure in spending as much as necessary to make him pay for his actions. Also be sure to explain the HIPAA violation and how it carries severe penalties. Right after doing that, hand him that resignation letter from himself and ask him to sign it. Remind him that the ACLU will not come to his defense in this case, and remind him that the hospital has way deeper pockets than he does. Point out signed affadavits from coworkers things they have attested he has said in the course of work, that relate to his "case braggings". I assure you this small player will require a code brown after you approach it from this angle. This will be the best money the hospital ever spent.

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