A clinician’s opinions about a patient, noted in the patient’s chart, become grounds for charges of defamation. IntroductionsMistakes by health-care practitioners happen every day, despite the best of intentions. At common law, defamation is a strict liability tort. In most common law defamation actions, the plaintiff only had to prove that a statement was defamatory about the plaintiff that was published. The defendant then had the opportunity to try to assert a defense, such as the truth of the statement.Facts of the CaseE, age 45 worked in an outpatient clinic as a nurse practitioner. The patient, Mr. J, was in his late 20 s, but regularly came to the clinic with multiple complaints. One month ago, Mr. J made an appointment to see nurse practitioner (NP) E because he had fallen at work and reported significant pain in his back and neck.  Mr. J reported that he could have suffered major injuries after slipping on a wet floor at work, landing flat on his back, leading to excruciating back pain.NP E ordered imaging studies. The results showed no significant injuries, so nurse practitioner E advised the patient to rest for a few days and prescribed a small amount of painkillers to be taken as needed. Within a week, Mr. J returned, complaining that the pain had not improved. Nurse practitioner E reexamined Mr. J and could not find anything significant and noted that the patient might still feel some muscle strain or some pain from bruises caused by the fall. Mr. J asked for more painkillers, but NP Eadvised him to try over-the-counter ibuprofen.Mr. J told NP E that he was filing a workers’ comp claim because the janitors at his job should have been more careful. He reported that he had not been able to return to work since his fall because the pain was so bad.Over the next five weeks, Mr. J returned to see nurse practitioner E at least three times complaining that the pain was unremitting and that he was not improving. Mr. J shared with NP E that he had heard that Percocet or Vicodin, or even Oxycontin might help his pain. Mr. J asked nurse practitioner E to write him a prescription for one of the drugs.Although NP E tried to avoid Mr. J, a written record showed that NP E did write in Mr. J’s chart that the patient was requesting pain killers by name. NP E also wrote in Mr. J’s chart that he believed that Mr. Jwas malingering. At another clinic visit, Mr. J again complained about his back pain, feeling very little improvement and the inability to work. He requested again medication for pain. NP E refused to prescribe anything higher than Ibuprofen and noted in the chart that Mr. J may be a drug-seeker.Later in the week, Mr. J dropped off several signed waivers, requesting that his medical chart be shared with his employer and their medical practitioners as part of his worker’s compensation lawsuit.After several months passed with no signs of Mr. J, NP E received notice that a lawsuit was being filed against NP E by a former patient for defamation, claiming that NP E  “had intentionally, negligently, and  /or recklessly, without regard for the truth, expressed to several people that Mr. J was a drug-seeker or abuser, who was committing insurance fraud by pretending to have nonexistent injuries, and was only trying to scam money out of workers’ compensation.Investigative ProcessDiscovery included subpoena of medical records and medical experts.  IssueWhether Mr. J was defamed by nurse practitioner E’s comments recorded in his medical record?  [“Defamation includes the terms   libel and slander. Libel is false and unprivileged communication by writing that causes damage to the person being written about; slander is basically the same, but is verbal rather than written”] RuleAt common law, defamation is a strict liability tort that harms a reputation by injuring a person’s general character or causing personal disgrace. “A court determines as a matter of law whether any interpretation of the communication could be construed as defamatory, while it is for a jury to decide whether the statement in the case before it is actually defamatory” (Diamond, Levine, & Stuart, 2000, p. 433).To successfully win a claim of defamation, the plaintiff must prove the following two elements:The communication tends to harm the reputation of another as to lower him in the estimation of the community.The communication deters third persons from associating or dealing with the individual. Question:  If the court rules in favor of the plaintiff, Mr. J., what would Mr. J receive compensation for?  My response:              Pain is rated on a scale of 0-10 in the healthcare profession, 10 being the absolute worst and 0 being none. Being that everyone has a different tolerance for pain you cannot treat pain one way. My pain scale of an 8 would probably affect my daily life while it might only be a 4 for someone else and can go about their day. We both are not going to be given the same pain medication, dosage, and frequency. One person will be over medicated while the other is under medicated.             Defamation is when something is said or written about someone that can ruin their reputation, it can also be known as slander or libel (Guido, 2020). Mr. J requested his medical record for a lawsuit. Everything was given to Mr. J including the written records of nurse practitioner E claiming Mr. J was requesting pain killers by name making him drug seeking and was trying to get money out of workers compensation for nonexistent injuries.             Being that Mr. Js claim of defamation proves the two elements I think he would win the case and receive compensation. Depending on if Mr. J lost earning due what NP E said about him will help determine the compensation. It also includes future losses, damages, expenses, and hospital bills.   Question for my answer:How would you respond to my answer to agree or disagree, informative or uninformative?  why? Health Science Science Nursing NUR 3110 Share QuestionEmailCopy link Comments (0)