LEGAL QUESTIONS: Think Pandora's box

April 2005 
Volume 35  Number 4
Pages 24 - 24
  PDF Version Available!


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    I'm new to nursing, so I asked an experienced colleague for advice on how to protect myself from legal problems. She said it's a good idea, if an occasion arises where you think you might need documentation that doesn't belong in the incident report (such as how a physician's behavior affected the situation), to keep a copy of the incident report for your own records and write in any subjective details on the copy. Is her advice worth taking? —C.R., CALIF.

    No. An incident report is a risk management tool that's protected from discovery by the opposing attorney in most jurisdictions. Thanks to the protection, risk management departments can use the private information to evaluate errors and injuries and find ways to prevent their recurrence.

    Copying an incident report, removing it from the hospital, and particularly adding your personal comments to a copy of the formal document, may compromise ...

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