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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » Now I know why the IDSA docs want to be expert witnesses

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Author Topic: Now I know why the IDSA docs want to be expert witnesses
seibertneurolyme
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I am still in shock. The attorney I consulted said they pay their expert witnesses $1000 per hour.

That is outrageous. It just boggles my mind.

Bea Seibert

Posts: 7306 | From Martinsville,VA,USA | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lymetoo
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In their defense... It would cost them a lot of money in time to show up in court.

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--Lymetutu--
Opinions, not medical advice!

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Rumigirl
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Well, you don't want an IDSA guy as an "expert" witness! I know, not at all funny.

Don't give up though. If an attorney, that you think is good, will take the case on contingency----meaning they get paid only if they win the case----then do it. They won't take it on, if they don't think you have a good case. Of course, you have to weigh everything.

If you do that, try very, very hard not to give them more than 1/3 of the settlement, although they may well ask for more. Expenses come off the top first. At least that was how it worked for me in the past.

You'd have to think who you would ideally want to be an expert witness, since the lawyer probably wouldn't know who would REALLY be an expert witness in this case. I have a few ideas, if you want names privately. Of course, I have no idea who would be willing to do it.

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seibertneurolyme
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Rumi.

So many decisions.

The attorneys that are reviewing the case want 40 percent which I think is too much.

But then again time is short.

Anyway, I am still searching. So many decisions.

Yes, I know who I would like to be witnesses, but supposedly it has to be an ER doc or an infectious disease doc. I want to be in control, but this group of attorneys act more like they are doing me a favor - not like I am hiring them to do a job.

If I am paying for the expert then I think I should have some input.

Going to post more questions on the ask a question lawyer website I have used so far. They seem to give really good advice.

http://www.avvo.com

I have no affiliation with that website.

Bea Seibert

Posts: 7306 | From Martinsville,VA,USA | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Eight Legs Bad
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Bea, be careful about giving too many details here.

You know that the Denialists will do anything to knock down a valid Lyme Disease legal case, so you don't want to post anything that could possibly tip them off as to how you are going about it.

Anyone can read this forum, and the Denialists regularly send spies to join it too.

Good luck with your case.

Elena

--------------------
Justice will be ours.

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seibertneurolyme
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Eight Legs Bad,

Thanks for thinking of me. But the reality is that all the details of the case are already public. I posted details of hubby's medical situation in real time on the forums while he was hospitalized.

The facts are what they are. There is no changing what happened. Yes, different people can spin things different ways - we all know that has been happening for years.

Hubby and I knew next to nothing about lyme and tickborne illnesses when he first became ill - which is almost 14 years ago now. From the beginning we communicated openly with all physicians. Maybe that was not the best approach, but we attempted to educate everyone we encountered along the way.

Was rereading the progress notes from hubby's final hospitalization a couple of days ago and came across a note from one of the nurses. She stated that even when hubby was having difficulty breathing that he continued trying to educate the nurses about lyme disease. And I am going to continue speaking out and doing the same.

The lawyer clearly said that my case is not about lyme. We all know the political climate is the underlying issue, but the case will be won or lost based on legal statutes and standard of care interpretations. It is hard to separate emotional issues from facts, but that has to be done to a certain extent.

The entire basis of the case is that the physicians missed the diagnosis of babesia. I think and know that one of the reasons they missed that diagnosis was because they were biased and also uneducated about tickborne diseases - did not know what labs and tests to order etc.

But from a legal standpoint it all comes down to a different question. The question is did they do what an "expert" ER or infectious disease or pulmonologist would have done? The standard of care is based on IDSA guidelines for lyme and also published medical literature.

I still think it is a winnable case because fortunately for hubby his babesia infection was well documented (the only infection he really had definitive tests for) unlike his lyme and bartonella infections which were more cinincal diagnoses.

And I did the best I could to put things in writing to be included in his medical chart. I should probably have documented more, but I do feel that what was included is more than enough to support my case.

Bea Seibert

Posts: 7306 | From Martinsville,VA,USA | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Carol in PA
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Whether or not you win the case will likely depend on how well the jury understands what the lawyers and experts say.
Otherwise they'll just go by emotions.

After serving on one jury, I was amazed at what the legal system has to work with.
Several people seriously seemed to be lacking in brain cells, including one young woman who repeatedly told us all how she didn't want to be there. Like every half hour.


p.s. I'd be no good any more for a jury, as my memory is crap...most of my brain cells are on vacation.

Posts: 6944 | From Lancaster, PA | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Keebler
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-
And the jury will likely believe the IDSA to be the true experts. They will not have time, or the opportunity to become LL.

One good point is that this is not about lyme. It's about Babesia.
-

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seibertneurolyme
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The reality is that if the case is strong enough the hospital and docs will want to settle out of court rather than go to trial. And then I would have some really tough decisions to make because they would of course want a gag order.

I had a long discussion with hubby's former LLMD last night and I already know pretty much what I want to accomplish with the case. If we were unable to negotiate an agreement - yes then it would go to a jury. But the vast majority of cases are settled without a trial.

Bea Seibert

Posts: 7306 | From Martinsville,VA,USA | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Carol in PA
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"The attorneys that are reviewing the case want 40 percent..."

Perhaps they quoted you 40% to give them some wiggle room in case you tried to negotiate them down.
Offer them 30?

Posts: 6944 | From Lancaster, PA | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
seibertneurolyme
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Carol - don't think they are willing to negotiate - not that I won't try. I am trying to stay optimistic that they will take the case. Can't even guess at the odds at this point.

So frustrating - They flat out said we don't think we can help. But we want our nurses to review the medical records. And we don't want you to contact any other attorneys until we decide if we can help.

As clear as mud.

Trying to brainstorm and get everything in place in case the answer is no.

Bea Seibert

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Judie
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"And we don't want you to contact any other attorneys until we decide if we can help."

Great (I say sarcastically). They say they can't help, but don't want you looking for help elsewhere.

How would they know if you called another attorney???

Posts: 2839 | From California | Registered: Jul 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
seibertneurolyme
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Judie - I didn't say I was going to take their advice. They just don't want me to sign anything just in case they do decide to get involved so they won't lose out on any fees.

No, I am not being sarcastic. They are the ones who gave me the estimate of 150,000 in expenses to file the case - but if I understood correctly that would include direct costs which I would have to pay and their lawyer's fees for billable hours.

From what I have read elsewhere most malpractice cases have fees of about 50,000 that the client pays (that includes copies and expert witnesses etc.).

I wish I could just act as my own lawyer or hire some law school students to assist, but in Virginia only a licensed lawyer can file the case. Believe me, I have thoroughly checked that out and know that in Virginia I have to have a lawyer.

Every state has different rules on statutes of limitations and lots of quirks to their laws.

Bea Seibert

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seibertneurolyme
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LymeToo,

Actually the $1000 per hour is to just sit in their office and review the medical chart and write an "expert" opinion.

Pretty sure if they actually end up testifying they get travel expenses etc on top of their other fees.

Bea Seibert

Posts: 7306 | From Martinsville,VA,USA | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Judie
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Bea, I really hope you can find someone who can help.

This is just so unfair what you've been through. I want someone else to help you with the heavy-lifting so badly.

Having gone through court stuff myself, it's a lot of work, but better than doing nothing in my experience.

My prayers are definitely with you. I have a couple friends from Virginia. Who knows, maybe they know someone...I'll ask. You never know.

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Amanda
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Bea,

With regards to the possibility that you settle, which means gag order, and making a hard decision about not going public...

Any time a doctor/hospital is sued over wrongful death type case, EVERY doctor associated with that hospital and community knows it. They all talk to one another, they are tight-lipped about it to the public at large, but they all know the details. Trust me, they talk to each other.

Doctors/hospitals are very fearful of lawsuits like this (as you know). They hate the time, they hate having to answer to attorneys, they hate spending their money on it. And there are at least a few MDs with compassion that will feel behooved to learn more for the sake of their patients.

I think a major reason that lyme treatment is still so difficult to obtain, even with a lot of increased awareness, is because your everyday doctor is worried about IDSA style witch hunt. I have seen docs who were willing to admit in private that they do not believe IDSA guidelines, but they would never say it publicaly, and they dont want patients like us. It is just too risky for their careers.

When you take it to court though, even if its a gag order, I promise you that every doctor in your area will know that a patient died because of a tick illness, and that ignoring lab work will cost you time an money, and for the compassionate MDs, a loss of life.

IT sends a signal that it could also be a hellish nightmare for them to ignore lab findings .

In other words, they feel they could get screwed either way. And once that idea starts spreading in other doctors minds, the doctors themselves will start to push for better research, treatment. I bet your ass the two hospitals have drafted new policies regarding Babesea, even if it is just to say you have to pay better attention to lab results...

This is what really needs to happen, we need more doctors/hospitals to get on board. All the success with public relations is currently not helping patients very much because we need more doctors involved.

So I guess I am saying no matter what you decide to do, it will make a difference. Your husbands death, I promise you Bea, has already made a difference. I'm just so sorry (and angry) that your husband had to die for this

Amanda

--------------------
"few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" - Mark Twain

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Lymetoo
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Thanks for the clarification, Bea. [Smile]

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--Lymetutu--
Opinions, not medical advice!

Posts: 95344 | From Texas | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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