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Old 25.03.2015, 12:44
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does a doctor friend need a lawyer?

Hello,
peculiar situation - got a friend, she is still quite fresh after university (doing her "formation") in various hospitals all over Suisse.

In her first out-of-uni job here in Switzerland (she doesn't work there anymore, and this happened roughly 1 year ago), there was a situation where (pardon my lack of proper medical terminology) main doctor during that shift performed some sort of invasive checkup of a patient coming to emergency, unknowingly creating internal bleeding. The tests itself were +- OK, so he sent the patient home, having my friend giving him "check-out examination" stating something along "if the situation gets worse, calls or come to us", respecting the main doctor's releasing the patient home. The patient died that night because of that internal bleeding caused by main doctor.

Now family picked this up, wanting to squeeze some cash out fo death of their relative (not judging them), and lawyers got involved. She is not the one accused (it's pretty obvious why), but since she was technically the last doctor to see the patient (ignoring her apprenticeship status back then), she was called to come to give some sort of statement (probably in front of judge).

Since she doesn't work in that hospital anymore, hospital-paid defending lawyer might not be covering her (this is to be seen). Now the question - should she seek a lawyer in all cases for that "giving of statement in front of judge"? Having no experience in legal matters so far (thank god), I am a bit worried that lawyer representing that main doctor/hospital might want to cover the ass of hospital primarily (no blame, protecting the feeding hand) and try to blame her (since there aren't any other culprits left to blame). That doctor still works there.

Of course it's easy to recommend lawyer in all possible cases, but she doesn't want to look guilty in front of judge just giving out statement... and I have no clue what she can expect

What do you think? Thanx in advance for any educated opinions.
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Old 30.03.2015, 04:23
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Re: does a doctor friend need a lawyer?

If your friend is now a qualified Swiss doctor, she should be a member of some Swiss medical professional organisation, a doctor's association (for example, the FMH) and those types of groups often provide initial legal advice for their members. I'd guess that that would be a first place for her to ask.
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Old 30.03.2015, 06:37
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Re: does a doctor friend need a lawyer?

Quote:
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Hello,
peculiar situation - got a friend, she is still quite fresh after university (doing her "formation") in various hospitals all over Suisse.

In her first out-of-uni job here in Switzerland (she doesn't work there anymore, and this happened roughly 1 year ago), there was a situation where (pardon my lack of proper medical terminology) main doctor during that shift performed some sort of invasive checkup of a patient coming to emergency, unknowingly creating internal bleeding. The tests itself were +- OK, so he sent the patient home, having my friend giving him "check-out examination" stating something along "if the situation gets worse, calls or come to us", respecting the main doctor's releasing the patient home. The patient died that night because of that internal bleeding caused by main doctor.

Now family picked this up, wanting to squeeze some cash out fo death of their relative (not judging them), and lawyers got involved. She is not the one accused (it's pretty obvious why), but since she was technically the last doctor to see the patient (ignoring her apprenticeship status back then), she was called to come to give some sort of statement (probably in front of judge).

Since she doesn't work in that hospital anymore, hospital-paid defending lawyer might not be covering her (this is to be seen). Now the question - should she seek a lawyer in all cases for that "giving of statement in front of judge"? Having no experience in legal matters so far (thank god), I am a bit worried that lawyer representing that main doctor/hospital might want to cover the ass of hospital primarily (no blame, protecting the feeding hand) and try to blame her (since there aren't any other culprits left to blame). That doctor still works there.

Of course it's easy to recommend lawyer in all possible cases, but she doesn't want to look guilty in front of judge just giving out statement... and I have no clue what she can expect

What do you think? Thanx in advance for any educated opinions.
I take it she's afraid of being suspected of implicitly admitting her guilt if she has a lawyer? She's on the lowest trophic level in that hospital, should prepare for the worst. Especially if she's not Swiss.
But I wouldn't actually worry too much, the case will be whitewashed, most probably. After all the "experienced" doctor was the one who caused the death of the patient.
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Old 30.03.2015, 06:58
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Re: does a doctor friend need a lawyer?

As she is not the accused, I'd suggest she doesn't need a lawyer. If the hospital wishes to get the best for the main doctor, however, they'll provide one for her.
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