This particular case involved 66-year-old B. L., who went into the hospital with a urinary tract infection, was overdosed with a blood thinner, suffered a massive abdominal bleed, died and was revived. After being revived, B.L. underwent three surgeries to find and repair the bleed, contracting MRSA osteomyelitis (bone infection) in her clavicle. She had two surgeries on the abscess and a third surgery to remove part of her clavicle bone, after which she contracted C-Diff (another bacterial infection) that caused very uncomfortable intestinal complications. She left the hospital 75 days later wheelchair bound and in a terribly deconditioned state. Four years later, the abdominal incision from the three surgeries herniated, and the entire contents of her abdomen (her bowels, intestines, some organs) pushed through the abdominal wall to sit just under her skin in a large mound.
Throughout it all, she remained a proud and dignified lady, with a sense of humor, life-affirming attitude, and a strong will to survive.
B.L. had been through several lawyers before getting to my law firm. She was universally disliked and considered off-putting, pushy and entitled. I was brought into the case a month before trial, just in time to pick the jury and to take all of the damages witnesses and one of the defense experts. Because of my TLC training, I spent about 20 hours with her in the weeks before trial, establishing a trusting relationship that allowed her to let down her guard and to reveal her true self.
The best example of this concerned her clothing and appearance. She dressed very well and appeared to be affluent. She had her hair coiffed, wore expensive looking jewelry and makeup, and carried herself with a dignified (some might say haughty) air. Her appearance turned many people off, and all of the lawyers before me insisted that she dress down for trial. They wanted to turn her into someone she is not. Honestly, that was my initial reaction and impulse too. But after spending a lot of time with her, I learned the reason that she dresses and carries herself this way. This knowledge led to some key testimony, an intensely emotional and compelling moment in the trial when her frustration, pain, embarrassment and suffering was displayed in an honest, totally raw way, causing the jury began to identify with her.
It was an honor to represent her.