In Need of Urgent Legal Information?
Problems and complications may occur at all hours of the day and night. In the event that you cannot reach us or obtain specific legal advice immediately, the following information may be helpful. It is not intended to replace legal advice. Should you face any of these circumstances, please contact CNPS at the earliest opportunity.
- It is advisable to identify yourself when requested to do so by a police officer.
- It is perfectly reasonable and responsible to refuse to answer any other questions until you have had an opportunity to seek legal advice. Here is why you should avail yourself of the right to a legal opinion:
- If your conduct is in issue, legal advice is important to avoid compromising your legal interests and potentially the defence of your case, should formal charges subsequently be laid.
- Even if your conduct is not the focus of the investigation, if patient care is in issue, you may still as a health care professional be bound by your duty of confidentiality to the patient. In most circumstances, a police investigation does not release you from this obligation. It is important for you to know whether you are still bound by your duty of confidentiality before you answer any questions. CNPS can advise you in this regard. It is also important to know that you cannot turn to the police for information about your legal obligations in these circumstances. It is outside the scope of their duty to provide you with legal advice.
- Be polite and professional at all times.
- ENSURING OPTIMAL PATIENT CARE REMAINS YOUR FIRST PRIORITY. If you do not have the necessary knowledge, skill or competence, if you do not feel emotionally able to assess the situation or if for any other reason you need help to determine what clinical steps must be taken, seek help from a colleague or the appropriate professional. Explain the nature of the complication that needs to be addressed. If you do not know exactly the cause of the complication, do not guess. Relate the facts as you know them, without surmising as to what you don't know, or what you may or may not have done differently. CNPS is available to offer management strategies if you have any questions about your professional or legal obligations.
- NOTIFY CNPS AT THE EARLIEST OPPORTUNITY.
- DO NOT amend the notes made in the patient’s chart. If additional details should be included, they should be added in a separate note. Only relate the facts; avoid expressing opinions in the patient’s chart.
- DO NOT assume responsibility for what happened. It is certainly appropriate, however, to empathize with a person who has suffered a complication.
- If your employer hires a lawyer to defend you, DO cooperate with that lawyer. DO NOT consult a lawyer yourself without first contacting CNPS.
- DO NOT IGNORE CORRESPONDENCE OR ANOTHER FORM OF INQUIRY FROM YOUR REGULATORY BODY. Failure to respond could lead to additional charges of professional misconduct.
- CNPS assistance does not extend to providing legal representation in College matters. However, CNPS can assist in identifying appropriate resources to assist you.