Rights of the Expert Witness ~ I’ll Take a Veggie Slice, Please

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Rights of the Expert Witness

expert

I continually assess and evaluate (there I go again!) my rights, values, professionalism, and of course ethics (which I really enjoy!?!) and am hopeful to write more on these topics and my career in the field of forensic rehabilitation consulting.

As far as rights, I found this great listing online (website is referred to below), and yes I added the graphics! I agree with the following essential considerations for taking on the role of expert witness:

  1. I have the right to be paid for my work.  Dream of Getting Paid
  2. I have the right to be prepped in advance of my testimony.
  3. I have the right to ask questions about the case.
  4. I have the right to work for either side, without fear of retribution.
  5. I have the right to change my opinion from previous testimony, as long as my opinion is evolving (based on new information, science and/or experience) rather than revolving (based on which side I’m working for). 
  6. I have the right to say “I don’t know”, if in fact, I don’t know. Just because I’m the expert doesn’t mean I have all the answers. I am clearly okay to say “I’m sorry, that’s outside my scope of practice”.
  7. I have the right to solicit objective feedback about my testimony from  the attorney who has called (and of course, they have the right to  decline to give it).
  8. I have the right to set limits with counsel about the scope of my testimony. 
  9. I have the right to disagree with another expert’s practices or  conclusions, even when I perceive that expert to be: a.) more educated;  b.) more famous; or c.) more experienced. 
  10. I have the right to disregard the initial instinct to view opposing counsel’s expert as the enemy, but instead recognize everyone’s role in the process and share pizza and a bottle of wine with that expert after trial is over.

Pizza

 Truly, it’s all good work!

I am glad my career continually evolves! I accept responsibility when providing forensic services to be clear, truthful and comprehensive in my evaluation and report products, and in my role as an expert witness. Thank you for reading!

Please contact me Amy Botkin for more information ~ 515-778-0634 or amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com

I’ll take a veggie slice and a glass of Chardonnay please. You?

Source for Rights: http://www.forensichealth.com/2011/07/13/10-things-the-fho-expert-witness-bill-of-rights/

___________________

 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Like Mother, Like Daughter, One Tough Cookie! Want One in the Courtroom?

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Friday May 28th was my daughter’s 25th birthday. I admire her character and am proud of her roles and goals in every way! She’s into gardening, is a proud pet owner and recently started a second job as a book seller. And quite importantly, she’s engaged to be married!

My daughter is physically and emotionally strong, independent, and One Tough Cookie!  Off the top of my head, here’s a few memories of my daughter and her “toughness” over the years. 

One Tough Cookie!

Before she was born, let alone named, her birth cord was wrapped around her neck while she was being delivered. As I was pushing down as one is to do during natural child birth, the doctor told me to STOP!

What? Stop? So I did and, (not knowing what was going on) he very quickly cut the cord from around her neck, and blood shot above me onto the ceiling. Nice, huh, and yuck! My new baby girl scared her parents alright! She was just fine though and had a good APGAR. Rather quickly, the housekeeper came in the room and cleaned the blood off the ceiling with a mop as I was still lying in the bed. Yuck again! She was doing her job and it was much appreciated!

Pin on blouse mtrl

Arin was a calm baby!

I remember the first day of her life, Arin seemed to care more about how the nurses felt when holding her than actually being the new baby in the room. And her eyes were (and still are) so huge, she kinda looked like an alien with eyes on both sides of her head! 

Later in her babyhood, heck, I cut her toenails too short and they bled. I felt horrible, and this was my 3rd child, but she didn’t cry.

Around age 3,  Arin fell from a chair at the babysitter’s kitchen table while she was eating lunch. Upon facial impact with the floor, her  front tooth was knocked out, and said tooth landed down in the heater vent, where it potentially could have trace elements today.  She was whisked to the ER by her sitter, but there isn’t much one could do for this injury, other than wait! 

Baby With One Tooth ClipartIt took years for her new tooth to come in.

Last year around this time, she had four wisdom teeth removed. She was tough with that surgery and the healing time involved…and her poor face was so swollen. This link takes you to a blog for a bit on costs of the procedure!

When she was a little older, around 8ish, we were working in the basement and somehow the iron got knocked off its board and landed on her foot. Her big toe sure bled a lot and a deep bruise definitely developed and stuck around. Luckily the toe wasn’t broken and the iron wasn’t hot! Yikes!

Here’s another story of my dauther’s toughness: As were in the process of remodeling our house (in 2009), Arin would’ve been age 13, she was cleaning our new windows (with water and an ecloth!) and the larger kitchen window suddenly fell down (the type of windows that fold into your house), whacking her head.  Her head broke the glass, and the glass shattered on to the floor. Arin immediately felt a headache, but there was no blood involved and we didn’t take her to the doctor, but I certainly cared for her closely and watched like a hawk for any concussive symptoms! I informed the salesperson who sold us the windows of this mishap, and he showered her with gifts. He was probably pretty darn grateful that we didn’t, gasp: sue! But no we did not, and her strong head was fine. 

With New Nordic Emojis, Give Your Texts That Finnishing Touch ...

Moving on into her middle school years, from what I was told by said daughter, she went snow shoeing on recess. Somehow her tongue landed on a metal pole, got stuck and she had to pull away from the pole. Yep, her tongue ripped and yep it bled and yep it hurt like he double toothpicks. 

She said this was a dare; the sticking her tongue out purposely onto a cold pole in the middle of winter. But in reality, I believe she fell into the pole because she wasn’t very good at snow shoeing. Again, nothing really you can do for this injury but give the tongue time to heal!Image result for tongue pierced cartoonA while later she got her tongue pierced anyway! She also pierced her septum and eyebrow too. Don’t forget thee belly button piercing! (I actually did that once, but let it grow back because it bothered me when I did a yoga pose or exercised on my stomach).

And speaking of, both her ears have pretty good sized gauge holes! I’m not including the numerous tattoos Arin has received.  To me, getting a tat seems a little too drawn out painful.
Colorful AJ

Colorful AJ

One last story off the top of my head at this time, and I’m not happy at all with how this happened. In early March 2019, Arin was at a birthday party held at a hotel for her friend Taylor. Arin was picked up and thrown (grrrr) into the pool. Kassidy, who she landed on, hurt not only her head, but bit down and injured her tongue; and Arin ended up breaking two ribs.

Image result for xray ribs cartoonHowever, Arin didn’t find out her ribs were broken until almost a week later when she was in much pain and having problems at work. On a Sunday she had to be taken to the ER which included x-rays and a pain prescription.  Again, this involved a long rehabilitation / healing period.

Okay, enough writing for now. Like mother, like daughter!  Yep, considering I was able to live through hitting a train headfirst!  I believe this “toughness” is heredity, and comes from my mom.

In 2019, my mom was experiencing an acute medical condition while visiting us from her home in Florida. As we were waiting at the airport for her and her new husband’s flight home departure, she took a dive (right in front of the drinking fountains by the rest rooms on the main level) on to her face, breaking her glasses. She ended up in the ER for numerous stitches rather than on the flight home. Mom didn’t cry or wince, or even complain a bit.

The bottom line of this post is to let you, my Attorney Reader, know that I am a strong “tough-minded” resilient person who has the capacity to face difficult facts and long odds with resolute optimism.

I define a tough-mind as having the resources, mental skills, and physical capabilities to confront difficulties of all kinds. And then afterwards, the resiliency to slow down and relax.

I know if I succeed, I caused it and if I failed, yep, I caused that too. (Don’t worry, I won’t say yep during testimony.) I will be tough for you and I will be tough for your client.

I won’t be so tough you may choke, but I will be tough enough with your case where it counts: in my reports and in the courtroom and in my resolve to never give up. I got this strong “tough minded” trait from my mom and have passed it on to my daughter and I am proud of it!

Thank you for reading my post. Let me know about a case I can help you with that involves disability and rehabilitation. I believe rehabilitation is the care that can help an individual get back, keep, or improve abilities needed for daily life. I’m a rehabilitation counselor who cares.

Contact me, Amy Botkin at 515-778-0634 or amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com 

___________________

 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Here’s a Dum-Dum Post! Want an Expert too?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In February 2020, at the beginning of the awareness of Covid-19, I attended a large conference with well over 200 people in attendance. During lunch, I sat at a table next to an intelligent man and we had a conversation about our jobs and serving as an expert “in the field”. His field is neuropsychology and mine is forensic rehabilitation.

Both interesting jobs involving brainwork, don’t you agree?

During our conversation, I explained how I want my courtroom testimony to be communicated to the jury in plain language so it is understand the first time they hear it.

The audience I’m communicating with is in no way, shape or form dum-dum, they simply don’t have “forensic expertise”. They do have good listening skills! I deliver my opinion using a matter of fact strategy that makes sense. This is rather easy for me, because I am a simple, basic person who has studied the case indepth.

I’m no dum-dum either

We continued to discuss how some experts use complicated language in court. It seems that expert wants the jury to believe the expert has incredible intelligence and cryptic knowledge of a complicated subject matter. I see this as a misguided attempt to manipulate the audience about how to view the facts. And I’m pretty sure each juror can see through the muck too! My lunch mate seemed to know the type of expert I was referring to. 

Perry Mason designs, themes, templates and downloadable graphic ...

I love it when Perry Mason eviscerates a pompous, stuffy “expert” on the witness stand!

My belief is that jurors deserve to hear the facts in a truthful, clear and simple manner. Yes, my lunch mate agreed. He summed it up by saying “jurors know the difference between corn and soybeans.” In other words, give us the facts and let us decide which is which because that’s our job in this case.

For fun, I did a little research on Dum Dums

The spherical lollipops originated from Akron Candy Company in Bellevue, Ohio, in 1924. The sales manager of the company, named them, thinking “Dum Dums” was a phrase any child could say.

Initially, there were 7 flavors: lemon, lime, orange, coconut-pineapple, cherry, grape, and butterscotch. Dum Dums are now made in 16 flavors, with new flavors rotating into the mix every so often.

Ewzzy — Once in generation a Mystery Flavor Dum Dum will...The “Mystery Flavor”

The “Mystery Flavor” is the result of the end of one batch mixing with the next batch, rather than stopping production to clean machines in between flavors.  Source:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dum_Dums_(lollipop)

You can tell this decision saved time, and allowed the company to be creative with their product which likely increased interest and ultimately sales! Talk about not being a dum-dum!

Also, just FYI; if you have any Dum-Dums wrappers left, send them in ASAP because (after nearly 70 years), Dum Dums lollipops will be ending its program to exchange wrappers for toys and prizes. The company’s mail in program, which began in 1953, will come to an end on May 31, 2020!  (Sorry, that was yesterday, missed the timeline, but you could try!)

No more regulation-size rubber baseball and metal wastebasket that could be acquired for 15 cents and 15 wrappers…the “Dum Dums Wastebasket Deal”. I’m sure you’ve seen, or even had one similar, to play basketball in your office space.

Dum Dums Garden

Any legal decision is all about: what can be done to answer questions, solve problems, use time wisely, and make or save $$$ in a lawsuit. Because I work on the plaintiff or the defense side, my forensic work helps in any court case. Contact me and we can discuss your case. I’m here to help attorneys help their clients.
 
Special Order* Hot Pink/ Watermelon Dum Dums | All Distributed ...
If you want a dum dum, I’ll be happy to provide one to you on a stick. Do you agree watermelon flavor is tasty?! If you want an expert, I’ll be happy to send you information on retaining me as an expert. Either way, let me know about your case and I’ll let you know how I might be able to help you help your client on the case!
 
Thank you for reading my dum dum post!  Here’s another post titled Don’t be a Dumb Bunny! In this post, I write about using your soft skills…another valuable skill to use in a court room!
 
5/25/2021 update. Last Friday I received my 2nd Covid vaccination. I turned down the pharmacist’s post prick offering of a dum dum! Can you believe it?!? It’s true!
 

Vocational Resources Plus, LLC * 515-778-0634  * amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com

___________________

 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

Conflicting Medical Opinions? Handle With Care!

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Upon referral of a vocational case, I review a variety of  medical data, for example, treating physician reports, functional capacity evaluations, independent medical evaluations and if available psychological data like psychometric testing, psychological evaluations, and psychiatric evaluations found within the file.

During a workers’ compensation litigated claim, or on any claim that involves work and disability, it’s important for me to understand the individual’s medical situation based on the data contained in these records.

Related imageGood thing I’ve had medical records training and enjoy the review!

If a file contains more than one FCE and/or IME, I can expect the reports to have conflicting opinions. For example, one physical therapist will recommend the claimant has the physical capacity for light work, while the other physical therapist says medium work. Often the therapists also have conflicting information about the individual’s maximal or lack of effort put forth during the evaluation.I Did My Best

The claimant needs to honestly and sincerely say “I Did My Best!”

Assisting the individual (who can be referred to as the injured worker, the claimant, the patient, the testee, the evaluee, and potentially the client)  in returning to work following an injury is a central role in found within my specialty of placement. This involves finding the best occupational match within the individual’s own labor market. A person’s “doctor imposed restrictions based on an FCE” should not direct the provision of placement services. A person’s knowledge, skills, interests and abilities should!

Image result for opinionWith conflicting opinions from professionals, what data should I rely upon to perform a beneficial service?

To resolve discrepancies I first ask myself, why is an FCE being used for this specific claim? The utility of this type of scientifically based evaluation, the training sources, performance methods, test protocols and standards to measure them are numerous.

Conflicting options are influenced by components of context and can be derived from subjective views. 

Professionals may have opposing views for their own reasons but I must be able to articulate their reports into vocationally-relevant terminology and tell a story about meaningful and gainful work. And it can be challenging to do this if I don’t understand the conclusion of the FCE report to begin with!

WORK

I love reading medical data rich in detail about a person’s world of functioning!  And I love writing reports rich with detail about a person’s world of work! 

A functional capacity evaluation is actually a term with various definitions, purposes and constructs. The purpose is to  evaluate an individual’s capacity to perform work activities related to his or her participation in employment. It seems that in essence, by having a functional capacity evaluation a person is likely to be put in an unfortunate position of deciding whether he or she is willing to return to work. 

If willing, there’s a way. If not, there’s no way.

From what I know, there are approximately 10 different types of commonly used functional capacity evaluations. Here in Iowa, I am most familiar with FCEs with names like the Isernhagen Work System, the Blankenship, Matheson, WorkWell and X-RTS. The reliability or validity of any system is somewhat irrelevant to me because the testing is already entered into “evidence”.

What is relevant to me is whether or not I comprehend the results and recommendations contained within the evaluation. Sometimes I can, sometimes I cannot. I always use a “Does This Make Sense to Me? test!

Image result for conflictingIt’s up to the dualing physical therapists to make their best points during litigation, I’m not in that ring!

I feel fortunate of connections with several physical therapists allowing insight into their clinical practice. I attend continuing education programs, and recall one that helped me understand various approaches to FCE’s specifically the X-RTS Lever Arm.

Thinking Cap

The X-RTS Lever Arm passes my make sense test!

So within the context of my vocational consulting work while cautiously putting any judgment aside (which seems hard when I know I know certain things), I analyze and compare each FCE while considering the testing results.

I note whether the FCE report is readable and user friendly. I assess if I understand terminology and methods used, how long testing was administered, what actually was administered, the claimant’s behavior during the test, and how the evaluator came to his or her conclusions about the results.

No senseDoes the conclusion make sense?

Are there concrete and realistic recommendations regarding strengths and weaknesses in relation to performing physical demand levels of various work situations? In other words, are there recommendations regarding real jobs found within the person’s labor market?

No senseDo the recommendations make sense?

I definitely look for the goals and expectations for the evaluation, and whether maximum and consistent effort was made by the evaluee. Comments on the suitability of the testee’s future employment options along with the evaluator’s observations are valuable and should be included.

It’s important to note what body part/extremity the therapist focuses on in relation to what body part/extremity was injured. For example in one report, the therapist discussed lower extremity activities, when in fact it was an upper extremity injury. If the report cites examples or uses too many percentages, it’s important to understand how the therapist justifies examples. I’m familiar with a therapist who changes the percentages of the same examples from report to report. That doesn’t make sense to me.

No sense I try really hard to make sense of most things and situations!  

If I am able to square an FCE in my mind after careful and prolonged study, is it possible the evaluee could do the same? That  would be  fortunate, especially if the therapist offers good recommendations that make sense!

How does the evaluee, when not truly the therapists’  patient when referred for an FCE by their own work comp attorney; with an additional FCE visit to a different physical therapist by the defense attorney  (that makes 2 different reports prepared by 2 different therapists) perceive discrepancies in the results? Sadly, in my eyes the FCE often gets “interpreted” through an attorney. The repeated pattern of thinking of one’s functional capacity as “poor” does not help anyone return to work.

If there is an IME (Independent Medical Exam), it may seem more geared towards one of the FCEs. Regardless, I try to comprehend all reports, noting the one I understand the most. I’m not so sure that an IME is really a “fresh set of eyes” in the workers’ compensation cases I’ve worked on. This topic is another blog in itself.

Putting both, or multiple opinions in a vocational report and making use of other documentation to support my ultimate and final opinion is a great idea, however I have to be cautious to not put myself in a role that isn’t mine (which is making a medical opinion which I can’t do).

If I am able to provide a doctor (ideally the most recent treating occupational health or rehabilitation doctor) detailed information directly related to a specific occupation or line of work and any resources that could help the doctor understand how such work is performed in a smart, safe and effective manner, many benefits arise.

Related image

Clean your lenses!

There’s a clearer understanding of the vocational rehabilitation process and with agreement from all involved, there’s a higher likelihood one could see a successful common outcome (return to work). This certainly helps solidify my vocational opinion and make reasonable recommendations. Yet, this type of opportunity is not frequently available (it is for me to though through processing a life care plan!).

In my reports, I document what medical records I’ve reviewed and then use the actual words from the individual during an interview (or deposition review) describing how s/he details their physical impairment.  Often I hear verbatim what one doctor wrote in their restrictions. The evaluee will respond to my open questioning about any physical limitations (sometimes after the evaluee refers to his/her doctor’s letter) and read or have it memorized saying: “no lifting over 20 pounds, avoid twisting, bending, stooping, sit and stand as needed.”  No sense

What do those words really mean in real life? It doesn’t make sense to me and the individual doesn’t seem to know either. Ask an employer if they have a job that involves no lifting over 20 pounds, no twisting, no bending, no stooping, no this, no that…and that’s not talking their language!

The evaluee who responds to me in this fashion (using verbatim restrictive words) needs future vocational counseling. Vocational counseling (which may or may not be provided depending on the nature of the litigation) helps to gain a clearer understanding of how the person’s medical situation has changed their daily living (especially in the context of their own world of work). This understanding leads to the ability to articulate the individual’s capacity for success to others (family, friends, job interviewers, etc.).

Please keep in mind, the term “restriction” is not conducive to a successful job search. The ability to explain who you are and what you can do from a functional perspective to help a business make or save money is what is conducive to a successful job search. Restrictions should never be the focus of job placement. Skills are!

Rehabilitation counseling is especially important if the individual is searching for a job and is requiring job seeking skills training on how to or how not to disclose disability or any functional limitation. The personal attributes gained from training helps the placement process move forward with common goals avoiding getting stuck within a few words that don’t apply to working reality.

WORKWhile staying true to my convictions and firm beliefs that a person can work if the person wants to work and has the capacity to work, I need to understand the dichotomy between science and clinical practice is more imagined than real.

If healthcare professionals submit conflicting reports on the same individual, I need to be able to resolve inconsistencies to better understand and appreciate the opinions offered. It is not my role to determine which opinion is correct. It is my role to utilize available information, provide a beneficial service, and make a sound vocational opinion regarding the individual’s strengths and weakness in relation to work capacity and employability.

Matching People With Their World of WorkIt’s rewarding when I can clarify a person’s sense of their own world of work.

I strive to extend the value of FCEs in the litigation process. I am trained not only in understanding a client’s functional abilities at work, but at home and at leisure.  Together, my knowledge with those of other experts, contributes to decisions about the economic losses, or damages, for which the person receives compensation.

Thank you for reading this long post! I’m here to help attorneys like you help your client. Please know I always search for a way to best express my vocational opinion. Contact me at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com  or 515-778-0634 and let me get to work for you!

___________________

 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

It Happens, Things Go Wrong. Need Help with a MedMal Case?

Reading Time: 6 minutes

[Original post date: March 29, 2018] Time for a health update blog, a personal one, difficult to write with a mix of questions and a couple stories about medical practice and procedures. The point is My Attorney Reader, I want you to think about Me as a forensic rehabilitation consultant, and how I can help you help your client who is involved in a medical malpractice lawsuit!

My husband’s heart took a detour late last summer, 2017 when the ticker was running really fast.  Randy doesn’t participate in races (I’m the competitive one!), but his heart sure was!

Randy donates blood on a regular basis. He’s donated 14 gallons according to the blood center sticker on our front door! In fact, he was donating early on a Saturday morning when the nurse was prepping him for the draw told him she thought his pulse was “strange”.  However, his precious blood was still drawn (double reds)!  

           Randy is a popular Type A- donor.  

Questioning here ??? Should the nurse have continued with the blood draw knowing the pulse was “strange?” Well, she did! Luckily, no harm done. When Randy got home (rode his bike at what speed I don’t know! to/from his blood donation date which is common cuz he’s an avid biker!), I took his pulse and in fact, it truly was “not right”.

A couple days later, he had a doctor appointment. Yes, I scheduled it out of wifely concern. Sure enough, we got tachycardia his heart was going 144 bpm. This means a cardiologist is needed. I want to thank the nurse at the blood center for catching this heart irregularity (ahem hubby, I told him I thought the same thing in the weeks before).

Following an array of testing, diagnostic procedures and preparations, he received an ablation early November 2017. Thank God it worked! Randy’s back down to a regular beating heart and a normal pulse. His blood pressure was never a concern.

His cardiologist did an excellent job and Randy was back riding his bike in a short period of time. He wasn’t happy to be told not to ride! In fact, I know he disobeyed his doctor’s orders one day or two.

We expect our doctor to always be right. We expect our nurse to always be right. We expect all our health care providers to always be right. We in fact, expect our bodies’ to become “right” whenever we receive treatment in the medical field.

But things can go wrong and a patient can become injured during the course of treatment. That’s why we have attorneys to help, right!?! And yes of course we expect our attorney to always be right, too!

“Dr. NeverWrong”, the cardiologist who performed the ablation on my husband’s heart has this nickname! Charlie the RN, one of Randy’s excellent nurses while hospitalized told me of this nickname and the fact that the cardiologist has a fan base. He is one of only a few docs in town who performs ablations.  Because the doctor was humble, gracious, and ever so respectful, I’m sure he would not want to be called  Dr. NeverWrong! Can you guess who I’m referring to?

What? Attorneys don’t guess! 

Okay, now on to me. Recently, I was involved in a medical situation which could be worthy of a claim. How do you help your clients decide whether to file a claim? If there’s been harm done? Here’s the abbreviated personal story. 

Image result for patient gown cartoonWhen preparing for a mammogram last October 2017 (sitting quietly in a heated gown!) and waiting for the machine set up, I informed the technician of an unusual skin issue I was experiencing thinking it was poison ivy. I’ve had my share of poison ivy issues, even a four day hospitalization for a severe case in the past (contacted through an outdoor camp fire.) Watch out when you burn wood, my reaction was horrible. Anyway, the technician dismissed my concern and we went ahead with the mammogram.

To not go into detail  uggh ; [   I ended up with a severe skin condition I believe was spread by the mammography machine.  Let it be known I truly love big machines, (especially cranes), yet this large machine is not one of my favorites following what I experienced.

I was absolutely miserable and the condition lasted too long. I ended up going to the ER once on a Sunday and urgent care twice during the weeks that followed. I made these visits because I couldn’t stand the physical and emotional toil…and my doctor’s office wasn’t open at the time of my needs!  Not until I went back to my personal MD to finally get the correct diagnosis and a prescription did I begin to feel a little better.  

Image result for skin cartoonBut the prescription did NOT help and in fact the condition worsened. I literally had to just wait this one out and deal over time with the largest organ in my system: the skin. I was so distraught I even sought mental health care. I’m okay now, thank you! Whew!

I didn’t file a claim, should’ve/could’ve I? The time, energy, money and definitely my mental health was compromised and consumed in a fashion that I certainly didn’t choose. The only time I have filed a legal claim was when my parents sued the railroad for their negligence leading to my car/train collision and subsequent injuries, hospitalization and rehabilitation.

Trust me, my Attorney Reader, there’s much to my personal story!

I think the key into what makes or doesn’t make a person seek a lawyer when they think they’ve been wronged has to do with respect or lack of respect shown  by a medical provider. Of course, everyone makes mistakes. But negligence, followed by covering up issues and not telling the truth is where the wrongs and not the rights come in to play.  That’s not where I come in just yet, that’s where you, the attorney is on the field. I enter the game by sorting out what the plaintiff needs and the costs of those needs.

If you need a life care plan for a client who has filed a medical malpractice claim, please contact me.  Following a needs assessment and subsequent life care plan, my recommendations are grounded in rehabilitation. I’m not saying I’m always right myself. 

 But I will tell you My Attorney Reader, I care and I will do what I can do to help you help your client.

Please don’t contact me if you will act more like the red devil lawyer on the left. Sorry, I’m not interested in helping. However, if you are a good attorney like the white angel on the right who truly cares about your clients, contact me! I’m here to help!

Amy E. Botkin, MS, CRC, CLCP

Forensic Rehab Consultant

515-778-0634 

amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com   

Thank you for taking some of your valuable time to read this post! I hope you enjoyed it.

___________________

My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

 

Patience, Persistence & Perseverance Dominate! Time for Spring!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

There’s not much growing in our back yard at this time but crocus which tells me it’s about time! Spring begins a new time in life with excitement for what will arise out of the soil!  In fact, time is the essence of all life and an honored resource.Crocus

Crocus, a perennial favorite!

I believe patience, persistence and perseverance are incredible qualities found in a person and in a beautiful flowering plant! All things produce when the time is right. Nothing can, could, will or should ever change this. It makes the most sense to follow Mother Nature’s lead and work with her rather than battle against her!

Back to my backyard where not much grows because of 2 main reasons, #1: our dog Bella the Aussie who loves the backyard and has many a good day carrying on in her canine best; and #2: the very large sugar maple tree with a huge trunk  covered in shaggy bark that supports many branches that tower into the sky!

Referred to as the Monster Tree!

Someday that part of the backyard will present itself in a better light! A professional limb trim helps, as does maintenance work and cleaning up in any home and yard (and business!) during seasonal changes throughout the year.   

I try not to grumble about picking up scattered mounds of dog poop and the thousands of sticks, branches and pieces of bark. Thank you oh monster tree for your beauty, shade, and for housing the squirrels, birds and other wild things! 

A harbinger I love to note is my first Robin sighting of the year! 

It’s impossible for me to embrace progress without patience, persistence and perseverance. I’m encouraged to find purpose in almost everything I do and strive to keep on keeping on until it all makes senseImage result for crocusI’m able to find comfort in what I’m doing now and can find that the powers-that-be will grace me with accomplishment in the future. What matters to me most is finding happiness and success in everyday life with even the most simple things! My mind is made up that way!

success If you’re going on a road trip this Spring, feel free to take this map along!

Success is found after driving safely through Patience, Hard Work & Perseverance. Hopefully you didn’t veer off Dreamer’s road and got lost; or end up in Pain because I hear it’s a bumpy trip!

Contact me to discuss how together we can help your client uncover the road that leads to a successful litigation outcome.  Keep in mind even detours can lead to places you may not have ever traveled. 

I hope you, my attorney reader, will contact me if I can help you on a legal case involving work and disability. I completely understand each case requires patience, persistence and perseverance. 

May we all experience Patience, Persistence & Perseverance through this pandemic and beyond. Stay healthy and thank you for reading! Contact me at 515-778-0634 or  amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com to discuss your case.

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

 

A Bouquet of Gerbera to Share, Along with My Vocational Assessment Services

Reading Time: 4 minutes

I’d like to share a beautiful bouquet of gerbera daisy with you, my Attorney Reader
With these flowers, I remind myself of how valuable you are to me as my client and how I am specially equipped to serve you as your consultant. Thank you for taking some of your valuable time to look around my website. 

On this site, I share information about my work background, including the fact that when I first started my vocational consulting practice in September of 1999, I was working part-time at a flower shop which was Doherty’s on 2nd Avenue as the “flower processor”.

My job in the shop involved duties to clean up the backroom, the upstairs storage spaces, the walk in cooler, and any other area that needed it, along with the best part of my job, which was to process incoming freight. This involved ♥I loved it!♥ opening boxes of flowers after I signed off for the delivery; and preparing the beauties for use by the floral designers. 

Image result for gerbera

My very favorite flower to process is the gerbera daisy!  They are great for adding color to any room or garden, with flowers that often measure 7 inches across!

Image result for gerbera flower

Why You Ask?

Do you want to ask me, so Amy, why is the gerbera daisy your favorite? My answer is: Because of the ease of cutting the stem! But the cut has to be just right for the bloom to last as long as possible! It’s not just about cutting the stem, it’s about thinking about the care involved in cutting the stem!

On-the-job, I was taught how to unwrap the shipment of assorted flowers that arrived, prepare a liquid solution, cut the stems and place them in the solution, then store them in the best place in the large walk-in cooler. When an order from a designer came through, it was again my job to bring the specific flowers out from the cooler and cut the stems perfectly before re-placement back in the cooler, marking the order, and just in time, as required for best results!

I used a really big stem chopper a lot. It looked like this: 

Image result for stem cutterWatch the fingies, Amy!  No, I never got injured!

I really enjoyed this part-time job because I was working with live beauty, and I was continuing to follow my passion. You see, growing up in the 70’s, I  was a member of a garden club. I excelled in flower arranging, even entering fair contests and winning ribbons!  Thank you Marie Hubbard, my neighbor mom, who was the club leader and one great teacher!  To this day I continue to enjoy arranging flowers!

Image result for cartoon winning ribbon

Where’d my show ribbons end up?

My job as as a flower arranger was short lived because my consulting business started getting busy and I could no longer take calls in the bathroom without feeling guilty. 

It was at this time in my life (by the way, the week before Valentine’s Day is very hectic at a flower shop…chop chop chop!), that I decided the only job I wanted to focus on was my own job as a consultant, which lead me to make a change for the better!  

In a nutshell, the decision was made to only have one boss from now on! And that’d be me. 

My plan for 2021 is to to continue to utilize my website for the purposes it was intended when I started it in the Spring of 2011, which is to write and share my talents!

Could your plan for 2021 include contacting me to help you help your client who is involved in litigation involving work?  You see I can also help you with a self employed client, because I understand what it takes to run a small business. 

If you need any sort of vocational assessment, I am definitely one of your choices and would like to be your preferred chosen choice!

Although not easy to prepare for because each one is unique, the assignments I accept are fulfilling and I appreciate the opportunity to help and to use my creative resources.  You’ll find I truly care about my work.

To discuss your case and how I might help, give me a call (515) 778-0634 or email amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com   Again, thank you for reading. Maybe you could take some time today to stop by your nearest flower shop and splurge!!

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

Get Level During the Divorce Process With an Earning Capacity Evaluation!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

As an Attorney, do you work with divorcing couples? If so, have you utilized vocational expertise to help level out the uncharted territory for your client? 

Postit marriage

My company, Vocational Resources Plus LLC, offers vocational consulting services, and specifically, an earning capacity evaluation will benefit parties in a divorce in many ways.

Whether employed, unemployed or underemployed, an earning capacity evaluation offers valuable information regarding a person’s working world. 

If you need a clear, objective picture of a divorcing husband’s or a divorcing wife’s earning potential, and not just what he or she is currently earning during the divorce process, but how their vocational background could unfold with options and corresponding wage information, let me help!

As a vocational expert, I know what skills are in demand in today’s employment market, and what income these skills can command in various careers.

Career pic

I report on the evidence and am always prepared to back it up through expert testimony!

An evaluation provides recommendations on the person’s functional capacity, personality, work skills and abilities, transferable skills, work values, aptitudes, interests, motivators,  work readiness and ideas for employment.

Any recommendation or opinion is backed up with supportive data that highlights the individual’s vocational presence.

Based on individual circumstances of employability, hireability and placeability (3 of my favorite ability descriptors!), other factors are assessed, for example, job seeking skills and job search records.

Most importantly, during a divorce your client’s personal story deserves to be heard, especially when discussing talents that include job skills and the career the person gravitates towards.  

Results of all assessments and analyses are explained accordingly in a clearly written report.

Tell Your Story | Anxiety Sufferers Canada - Physical Abuse

I can help tell your client’s vocational story realistically and persuasively.

In one case I’m aware of, the divorcing woman declined to hire her own expert (umm: me) and found herself at a serious disadvantage. The “opposing” vocational expert sure did a number on what he declared she would earn in today’s workforce in central Iowa, even though she hadn’t worked anywhere in 12 years (and when she had worked it was in a different country!)

There were inaccuracies, false statements and numerous errors in this expert’s report on a specific career (it was teacher). This made made me wonder if he (the opposing expert) had actually ever talked to a teacher about their job in real life! (Ahh, try being married to a teacher like me!)

The opposing expert did not make sense! In central Iowa, a teacher does not start out the first year earning a $50k salary (especially when the individual has an outdated bachelor degree from a non-accredited college, no teaching license, no certification(s), and no recent teaching experience)!  The person wouldn’t even qualify to interview!

Talk about needing a true earnings capacity!

Earnings $

Knowing your client’s earnings ability will directly impact the resolution of the economic aspects of the divorce case.

Even following divorce, my services can help an “ex” find appropriate work. With the results of interest and aptitude tests, along with professional guidance, the value of hiring a vocational consultant is enhanced should the cost of placement services be included in the alimony proceedings.

Contact me to discuss how I can help level the playing field so the divorce process moves in a fair and equitable manner. It makes sense to have a person’s earning capacity known early in the proceedings.

Know what you need to know about your client before a different report may try to say otherwise! Having valid and reliable information on earnings directly impacts the resolution of the economic aspects of any divorce.

Time to Get Level

Call me ~ Amy ~ at 515-778-0634. If I don’t answer, please leave a message! Or  email me at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com and I’ll get back to you.  Thank you for reading and I look forward to helping you help your client!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Samantha Josephine, Soo Soft and She Smelled Sooo Good!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Oh SamiJo, how I miss you.   I’ve cried a lot and believe writing this blog and posting pictures of you are healthy for me to grieve, even one year later.  Samantha Josephine Botkin ~ January 10, 2002 to January 10, 2018.

I have many memories of Sam. She’s the only store bought cat I’ve ever owned! We definitely got our money out of that Aqualand purchase, back when the kittens were for sale in the window.

 

16 years is a long time to spend with me, and we both sure went through a lot! Sam’s fur was soo soft and she smelled sooo good!  I loved pushing my face in her coat and taking big sniffs!

I was so proud of my goal: for Sam to be a “lap” cat. It took five years, but here’s my proof. I was such a proud cat owner this day,  December 20, 2007!  I was so proud of both of us! Sure wish I knew where that pink ISU hoodie went.

Here’s My Proof!

After that, she pretty much was always near me! She loved cuddling up with ArinJune too!

Here’s just a few more of the many pictures of Sam I’ve taken over the years. 

Yoga Love, this was a selfie! 

Isn’t she special! As I believe all cats (and cat owners) are! 

I love this shot with Sam lounging on the blue pillow (which I salvaged out of my mom’s dumpster when she cleaned her house out before moving to Florida after dad died in 2016), the colors being a perfect background!

Below is the last photo I took of her, the day I called  my vet and was referred to the Iowa Vet Referral Service on Merle Hay Road (highly recommended by me).

When I look closely into her eyes, I can see me. A week after she was euthanized, I picked up her ashes and on the trip home, I saw a rainbow in the sky!!! It was the Rainbow Bridge without a shadow of a doubt. If you’ve experienced this before, you know what I mean. Believe me, it’s breathtakingly true.

The box for her ashes is beautiful, its’ home in my bedroom is near where she slept.  Her clay paw prints have a special place as well, which I fill with vanilla essential oil for a nice aromatic reminder of the love of my life Samantha Josephine Botkin.

Prrrrrrr

I’ll never ever forget our time together on this earth! Till we meet again girlfriend. 

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alaska and Her Rehabilitation Plan…Patience Beyond that of a “Normal” Cat Owner!

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Okay, another cat blog! Yes, I’m a cat lover and I love all pets and I care for all living creatures! I’m not a cat fanatic, it’s just that felines have been an important part of my life since my teens, and I love cats!

I love to write too. I love my work. I love my family. I love my life! I love a lot actually! Amy means beloved, so it’s reciprocated in many ways : ) Read on please! I’d love it!

Cat Plate
Cat Plate

Little did we know that 3 months after Max my manx was murdered in early 2002 by something in the street, (I don’t love creatures who kill pets, and on the other hand I don’t like it at all when my pets kill creatures), a tiny meow would emit from our neighbor’s garden. Oh my, this long haired kitten was awesome!

Felix! Welcome! (Okay, this blog is not about Felix today!)

Max, (nope this blog not about you either, meooowww) a dearly beloved yet wild cat, found me in ~1987 when I was renting the basement of a brick home in Windsor Heights (it had a pool in the back yard.)

Speaking of cat claws! A word of advice from a long time cat owner, (counselors shouldn’t give advice, but in this case, listen to me!): Don’t think it’d be fun to give a cat a ride on an air mattress in a pool. Trust me. Sure looked like I had open heart surgery!

kitten-3

Alaska, when she was skinny

Now, here’s a blog devoted to Alaska. She’s the cat who strutted on down the street one Spring evening in 2012 (following my son Jacob and his friend Josh) directly into our house and to a bowl full of cat food. Score!

I recall saying “Wow I’ve always wanted a white cat!” She’s all white with beautiful eyes (I love the green one; no, I love the blue one!). Oh dear, upon her arrival she was a very thin stray!

And oh dear, oh my, oh dear, I would have no idea what trouble she would end up causing over the next year or two (…).

You really don’t want to know all the horrid details, but just know her behavior  involved lots of $$$$ due to her destructive nature of clawing at furnishings (another word of advice regarding leather furniture and cat claws, expect your sofa to be a target!) and depositing her scent in various places throughout the house. 

Plus there were even more costs $$$ over veterinary bills due to her actions toward the existing female feline (my love of all cat loves SamiJo.) But Alaska was still a cat I had no plans to give up on! To this day, she’s definitely not the perfect puddy and I don’t expect she ever wants to be in “her eyes”!

When she arrived, she looked like a kitten, however our vet, Dr. Michael Forret, said she was about 7 months old when she decided to ditch being a stray and choose our home. She was hungry and dirty!

Even her ears where filthy. Jacob named her and she has a middle name too, but I don’t think I should let you on to that just yet!

Alaska Our Putty TattyI rehabilitated Alaska TF into one big healthy white cat!

Part of Alaska’s rehabilitation included a lot of touch. She didn’t like being touched much, probably because she had not experienced much touch. To this day, she still will allow being touched only upon her terms and conditions, but I like to make her think she loves being petted which she really does but tries to hide it (cats).

kitten-in-toteAJ & AK bonding!

ArinJune figured out a way to carry her around in a tote bag (and to this day I often find her lounging in one of these she found!) to feel safe. With ongoing rehab,  regular vet care, good food and water, and lots and lots of love and attention, she thrives! Treats are nice too!

AK is much calmer of late into her more mature cat years. She loves the freedom to do what felines do (….sleep…and read above [hunt]…). She continues to be “a wild one” however and she herself does her share of “killing and delivering….” But, how can I stop a cat from that? Her hunting is actually of value to where we live because of an unkept property or two in the hood. But the dismembered gifts by the back door, come on! Enough. I purchased her a new collar with a loud bell that will hopefully help plus she only goes outside about once or twice a day.  

Update, Alaska has not gone outside for the last several years, so, no more worrying about what she’s killing, whew! Plus, after that one cat fight many moons ago (which lead to another visit to the vet, and resulted in stitches and a chipped ear), she prefers the indoors! And that’s where I like her to be! She’s a homey!

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Alaska helping me on a case!

Good communication and problem-solving skills are required in order to counsel others. In my role as a rehab counselor, I truly want to be empathetic and reveal my desire to help people fulfill their goals. Counselors need good listening skills, compassion, and patience while working with individuals who have suffered serious injury and disability.

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She found this case interesting and pauses to reflect!

I know I have patience beyond that of a normal cat owner! Thank you my felines for teaching me how to listen and show my true self.

If I can help you, my attorney reader, help your client with a life care plan that includes vocational rehabilitation, please let me know! Contact me at 515-778-0634 or email  amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com

Thanks for reading! I hope you “loved it!” If you have a cat, maybe I’m motivating you to cuddle up now! Prrrrr

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.