5 Ws, 1 H for LNCs

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LNCtips.com: 5 Ws, 1 H for LNCs


One of the first  things that journalism students learn is how to write a news story describing an incident in terms of who, what, when, where, why, and how - the 5 Ws and one H - of the event. But what do the 5 Ws and one H have to do with legal nurse consulting?

Legal nurse consulting involves analysis of the facts of medical litigation.  By using the five Ws and one H as a framework, LNCs can determine the facts of the case.  I also use who, what, when, where, why, and how when I'm writing both the introduction and summary of a narrative medical analysis.

So let's look at how a legal nurse consultant can use the 5 Ws and one H to determine the facts of a medical malpractice case. To show you how some of the facts can be used in an introductory paragraph, I'm going to make it colorful by writing the answers to the 5 Ws and one H in its corresponding color.

Who?  Who is the plaintiff or personal representative? Who are potential or named defendants? Who are the treaters and others involved in the medical malpractice event?

What?  What happened? What led up to the event? What occurred after the event?

When? When did the event happen?

Where? Where did the event occur?

Why? Why did the event happen? This is a crucial question because it refers to causation, one of the elements of medical malpractice, if the event resulted from a deviation in the standard of care.

How? How old was the patient at the time of the incident? How did the event happen? How did it affect the patient? This is another crucial question because it refers to damages, another element of medical malpractice if the event caused harm to the patient.

Here are the first few sentences of an introductory paragraph for a medical malpractice case using the 5 Ws and one H as a framework.

Mr. Dennis Grundy was 60 years old when he died on February 13, 2006 after being treated for a week for influenza at Cherry Oaks Medical Clinic.   He had returned to that clinic due to breathing problems, collapsed in the elevator and died despite resuscitative efforts by clinic personnel, paramedics, and staff at the Emergency Room at Lake Michigan Healthcare system.  An autopsy performed by the Medical Examiner revealed that Mr. Grundy had ruptured diverticula which led to peritonitis and his death.  According to his wife Susan Grundy, she heard from a friend of a friend who works at Cherry Oaks Medical Clinic that Mr. Grundy's resuscitation was a comedy of errors. She was told that there was a new type of CPR that only one person knew how to perform but that person was overridden by the physician in charge, Dr. Dona Milera

The introductory paragraph gives a good overview of what happened in the case. And the 5 Ws and one H make it easy to write.

Related LNCtips.com web pages: Medical Summary, Treater List.

Want to learn more about LNC skills for legal nurse consultants?  Check out the Archives.

...Katy Jones