Physician’s Assistants and Paralegals
My son recently broke his arm. Luckily, the break wasn’t too bad and he is expected to make a full recovery. As we waited in the emergency room, we were told that an orthopedist was coming to set my son’s arm. When the ortho arrived, we learned for the first time that a physician’s assistant was going to set my son’s arm and not an orthopedic doctor. The physician’s assistant set the arm in a cast and we were on our way with a warning to seek assistance if my son had swelling in his fingers.
The next day, my son returned to school and his fingers were very swollen. I took him to see an orthopedist and we were again treated by a physician’s assistant. She told us that the splint that had been put in place was too tight. She removed the splint and put on another splint that did not cause my son’s fingers to swell. We were told that my son’s elbow would be immobilized in the permanent cast to prevent movement of the bones in his arm. My son was upset about that limitation that this would place on his mobility and activity level.
Two days later, we saw the orthopedist. He was with us for about 10 minutes before turning us over to his assistant. The assistant placed a removeable brace on my son’s arm which came down below his elbow. The brace is very light and freeing his elbow has given my son relief that he can remain active.
Seeing two different physician’s assistants and having the splint applied too tightly and getting bad information about the permanent cast made me think about how law firms interact with new clients.
Many firms send investigators to meet with clients to have them sign the retainer agreements. These investigators are not lawyers and are not qualified to answer the legal questions that most client have when they have just been hurt and need help. Like the orthopedist, many lawyers have most of the work and client interaction done by investigators and paralegals.
I believe it is very important to spend the time that is necessary to answer my client’s questions and reassure them when they have suffered an injury that has seriously impacted their life. I also believe it is important to continue to talk to my client during the representation and not turn them over to a paralegal for the majority of their communication with BoobergLaw.