I’ll take jurors for 100, Alex

Jurors are called upon to make incredibly important decisions, and while they may be instructed to “stick to the facts”, those facts can be difficult to parse out. Both sides will argue for their client, and they will use every weapon from accusation to rationalization to “make their case”.

A good trial attorney knows that keeping it simple is best; that is why they pick a “theme”, a central point around which to build their case, independent of how many people are being fingered for wrongdoing. The theme should be constant: “This man would be alive today but for the negligence of xyz in monitoring basic vital signs.”

Behind this simple statement is an extremely complex and highly developed game plan geared towards subtly asking jurors to apply their own sense of right and wrong to their decision. Once the facts are clearly laid out, and all has been presented to them, jurors are asked to make difficult choices independent of personal morality (but who can really do that?).

I have talked about clinical nurses serving as testifying expert witnesses, and legal nurse consultants working behind the scenes to analyze medical records and develop a case. In many states, there is a third way to become involved in the legal world of healthcare, and that is choosing to serve as a fact witness about your review of medical records.

In this role, you take what you know about a medical situation and explain it to the jurors in a way that makes sense to them. You are not testifying against another healthcare provider; you are merely relaying the information found in the record, and explaining the more complex medical issues to jurors as lay people. This sounds a lot like talking to family members in the hospital, and in a way it is.

You are not rendering an opinion; you are informing, and your information can help clear the fog of legal arguments in the minds of those oh-so important jurors.

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