Nancy Collins, PhD, RDN, LDN, FAPWCA, FAND
Inaccurate and incomplete intake and output (I&O) records pose a problem in litigation, as well as a risk to the patient who requires monitoring of fluid balance for medical reasons.
“Would you agree that the nurses did not know how to do basic arithmetic?”
Of course nurses know how to add and subtract, yet I was asked this question in a very challenging manner by a plaintiff attorney. He had just showed me 3 weeks of I&O tables excerpted from the medical chart of the deceased plaintiff, and almost every shift was incomplete. The plaintiff attorney was reducing the problem to poor math skills, implying that not a single day was complete because the nurses who cared for this patient lacked the skills to add a column of numbers. He knew I would disagree because I was not going to say these nurses lacked basic math skills. But he also knew his follow-up question was the real reason for this math ploy.