GENERAL ADVICE – MARCH 2020
What Happens To Your Client During A Medicolegal Examination?
It is all very well for you to send your injured Plaintiff off to an Orthopaedic Surgeon for an independent examination and report. The appointment is usually made for weeks or months hence, you are not there and the Plaintiff is left to his or her own devices to wade through an experience that can sometimes be quite unpleasant.
It occurs to me that as the legal counsel, you should probably be more aware of what is going on. There have been occasions on which I have had Solicitors accompany their clients. It is a little unusual, but I have never refused. Plaintiffs have also sometimes asked if they could tape record a consultation. Again, I have complied with that request. Interestingly, I suspect that there have been other Plaintiffs who have tape recorded the consultation without my knowledge. Modern mobile ‘phones are capable of almost anything.
I simply assume that every consultation is being scrutinised in some manner. It is analogous to treating patients with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). We take special precautions to minimise the risk of transmission. In reality, the patient who declares his or her sero positivity is probably the safest of all. It is those patients who do not declare their sero positivity that can potentially wreak havoc amongst a surgical team.
It is for that reason that we assume that every patient is HIV positive and deal with them accordingly. Whilst I am not suggesting that your client is HIV positive, I do always assume that my performance as an independent medicolegal examiner is being tested.