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Unsung Heroes - November 2019 - Subscribe to Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

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Page 23 of 146

nice at some points and a bulldog at others. It's all meant to disorient you and make you say something you don't want to say. At the start of a deposition, a lawyer will often state, "I'm going to ask you a ques- tion. If you don't understand it, let me know and I'll rephrase it." That's the opening where you can start controlling the process. Ask him questions. Ask him for clarification. Now you're making him think on his feet to rephrase questions, which disrupts his strategy. If he says, "Tell me about your conversations with the patient," respond with "What do you mean by conversations?" Narrow down the scope of his question so you can give an honest answer and never speculate about the meaning of a question. Ask for clarification. If his question is vague, and you assume what he's asking for rather than absolutely knowing, you may give an answer that's not related to what he wanted and inadvertantly give him information he can use to trip you up on the witness stand. Also watch out for rhythm questions. Often the plaintiff's lawyer will start the deposition by asking you several easy questions to get you into a comfortable routine. Then he'll ask an illegal question, hoping you'll give him information he shouldn't have. Pause and turn to look at your attorney after each question. That will give her a chance to object if something is wrong. Many times the plaintiff's attorney will remain silent after you finish your answer in hopes you'll think you need to say more. Understand what he's doing and patiently wait for the next question. Keep your comments focused on the particularities of the case. If the attorney asks about something that doesn't pertain to the lawsuit, ask for clari- fication and wait for your attorney to intervene. OSM Mr. Duffy (williamduffy6967@comcast.net) is program director of nursing and healthcare administration at Loyola University's Marcella Neihoff School of Nursing in Chicago, Ill. Medical Malpractice MM 2 4 • O U T PA T I E N T S U R G E R Y M A G A Z I N E • N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 9

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