May 2010 
Volume 40  Number 5
Pages 10 - 11
  PDF Version Available!

I work for a hospital that provides me with professional liability insurance as a benefit of employment. The human resources officer says I don't need a personal liability policy as long as I'm employed at this hospital. What do you think? I'd sure like to save the money.—D.M., MD.Our consultant says, penny-wise, pound-foolish. During a legal action, employers don't always like working with attorneys assigned by nurses' personal insurance companies because having the hospital's attorney coordinate the defense simplifies matters for the employer. Consequently, the employer may discourage nurses from getting individual coverage. But in a legal action, the hospital's interests may conflict with the nurse's. If the hospital's attorney represents both the hospital and the nurse, who do you think will be shortchanged?Personal liability insurance coverage is relatively inexpensive and offers other advantages, such as protecting you in certain circumstances outside the scope of your employment. It's a small price to pay to make sure you'll have an attorney looking out for you if the need arises.Last year a friend underwent a core needle biopsy (CNB) of her left breast with a healthcare provider (HCP) who provided no analgesia at all, even when my friend began to cry and beg for relief. Now my friend just learned she needs a CNB of her right breast, but she's refusing to have it done based on this previous negative experience.I work for another HCP who sometimes performs breast biopsies. The written policy in our office is to perform CNBs with local anesthesia. Isn't this the standard of care? What should I advise my friend?—K.D., ORE.The failure to provide appropriate analgesia before a painful procedure has both legal and ethical implications. You're correct that the standard of care includes ensuring that the patient doesn't experience this type of pain. Lawsuits have been brought—and won—based

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