Guy Gilligan sued Susan Junod, an LPN, and her employer Virtua Surgical Group after his wife died a week after undergoing colon surgery. Gilligan claimed he called Junod repeatedly for advice because his wife was in pain and couldn’t eat, but the nurse told him she had post-operative gas and should take her medications, try to eat and walk around…legalnewsline.com, Some nurses not covered by New Jersey medical-malpractice reform, Daniel Fisher, Nov 2022
The defendants sought a court order requiring Gilligan to submit an affidavit of merit under a 1995 law designed to cut down on frivolous medical malpractice suits. That law requires an affidavit by “an appropriate licensed person” attesting there is a reasonable probability the defendant’s care fell outside professional standards. The law identifies 16 “licensed persons” including “registered professional nurse.”
The defendants argued the definition of nurse included licensed practical nurses, but the trial judge disagreed and certified the question to the New Jersey’s Appellate Division for an answer. That court agreed with the trial judge in a Nov. 9 decision.
The court ruled that the state lawmakers should amend the statute if they disagreed with the judgement.