Legal Tips
Provided by Carolyn Buppert, MSN, JD, ANP

Have a patient's chart in front of you when giving advice by telephone.

Example: A patient called her primary care clinic complaining of abdominal cramping and pain. A nurse took the telephone call and told the patient it was most likely that she had gastroenteritis, but to call back in two days if the symptoms did not subside. The patient called the clinic again in two days, on a Friday, stating she had abdominal pain. An NP took the call. The NP did not obtain the patient's chart before talking with the patient. A chart review would have revealed that the patient had an IUD. The NP told the patient it was most likely that she had gastroenteritis, and to call next week if the symptoms had not resolved. In five days, the patient came for an office visit and was diagnosed with severe PID. Soon thereafter, the patient had a hysterectomy, necessitated by the infection. The patient sued the NP.

This tip is excerpted from a recent issue of The Gold Sheet, a monthly newsletter published by the Law Office of Carolyn Buppert. The Gold Sheet covers the latest news on quality for NPs. For a 12-month subscription, send a check for $25 to The Gold Sheet, Law Office of Carolyn Buppert, 1419 Forest Drive, Suite 205, Annapolis, MD 21403. A companion newsletter, The Green Sheet, offers the latest information on NP compensation and reimbursement.

Last updated: August 9, 1999


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