Blending Art and Science…to Help Litigated Cases!

Reading Time: 5 minutes

I’m intrigued about the “difference” between art and science. It’s easy to say art is subjective while science is objective. Fundamentally art expresses knowledge, while science is the system of acquiring knowledge. Yet in many ways art and science are actually connected and related to each other.

Amy & Randy July 17, 2011

Kinda like a couple with waaay cheap sunglasses! 

Randy and I have more differences than similarities. Or do we? Let’s look at a few basic facts:

We often prod each other of our differences. I prefer pepper, while he does salt. Me ketchup, he mustard. He likes corn, me peas. I love apples, he prefers oranges. He likes vanilla ice cream, me chocolate. Hot peppers *me! versus no way to hot peppers *he! I really could go on and on about our taste differences! By the way, I’m a vegetarian! Not Randy!

KetchupMustard

But what about our important similarities (that have nothing to do with food)!

Our similarities matter the most. Like how we: Approach life. Share our faith. Explore our world together. Use our resources. Create options. Solve problems. Work hard. Lovingly care for our 3 young adult children. Spoil the pets.  There we meet; well we try hard to meet! 

Keep in mind Randy is much more serious than I. The better descriptor is probably straight-laced (kinda), not one to bend (that many) rules, and he likes to go by the book (mostly).  He prefers to follow instructions, a map, or a detailed plan (he designs power points before we go on a road trip)! And me, well I make my mind up where to go when the time is right for me! But I don’t get lost!

Randy is a teacher with a bachelor degree in Art ~ a BA and he has a ME  ~ Master in Education. I am a counselor with a bachelor degree in Science ~ BS, and my MS is again in Science. But wait!! When it comes to teaching or counseling what really is the difference between art and science when expressing knowledge in real life?

I would say the main difference between art and science is that art is more focused on the perception of the world through the eyes of a particular individual. Art involves an emotional response, and can be based on personal experience, opinions, preferences, and individual perceptions. Look at a painting and we all see something different!

Art elicits an emotional response while science doesn’t (at least for most people I know)!

Image result for painting

Science, on the other hand, is regimented and systemic with rules, procedures, and policies to follow. When people perform scientific investigations, the purpose or goal is to find an answer to something in a very planned out and specific way using the scientific method. Easier said than done, and requires planning with purpose and planning with options.

Image result for beauty in the eye“Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder”

Look at a cell under a microscope and you are supposed to see the exact same thing (assuming you know what you’re looking at) as the next microscope user. BTW, I never could really “see” what my microbiology partner at ISU saw, but I did get excited (an emotion!!) when he said I was close!

I found other ways to look at the topic of blending art and science:

Image result for curveballBaseball pitchers use the science of physics when throwing a curve ball, but actually throwing a good curve is an art form.

Or perhaps medicine is an easier example.  Image result for medicineMedical practice is both an art and a science.  The two can not be separated without destabilizing the system. Do you want physical treatment without discussing what your psychological needs are?

A couple lives on the art of marriage AND the science of marriage. And a rehabber relies on the art and science of rehabilitation! There is a balance, although it certainly can tip often.

The balance is found in creating the work of art marriage / or the work of art rehabilitation is supposed to be, digging your heels in and applying the science of either of these (marriage/rehabilitation) when times get rough. I’m not a marriage counselor, I’m a rehabilitation counselor

So applying a sense of balance to my own work activities using art and science  to help you help your case sure makes sense to me!  My reports will not parse other’s reports, use wild statistics, or make blanket statements based on literature with no direct relationship to the individual’s  health condition and/or future work.

In my reports, I will make sense of what I believe to be the best options for your case and focus on connecting the results of my research to support my helpful recommendations and conclusion. This is blending art and science in a meaningful way. This is helping you help your client. This is why I do my work.

I appreciate the sound of blending art and science!  

I can help you with your case involving work and disability, the employment aspects of a divorcing couple, or a case involving the need for life care planning

Additionally, let me know how I could help you with a case with conflicting opinions! There’s always a way to blend the best and come to the truth.

Give me a call at 515-282-7753 for a free initial consultation. 

___________________

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

I’m A Lot Like A Mole…Fortunately to Help on a Legal Case, Using Forensic Rehabilitation!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Okay, so I do something I’m not so sure many other people chose to do and it’s clearly an inherited trait.  Dad did it too. Okay, it’s…it’s…I’ll just come out and tell you. I use bar soap and I use the soap until it is totally gone. And I mean totally!  I don’t waste soap.

Like dad, I also save and reuse paper napkins if possible (but prefer cloth!) and keep paper towels (ditto) the same way he did, until they’ve been totally used up! He’d toss, recycle or burn what he had to.

Waste Not, Want Not (Learned the saying from dad) and ya, it’s a proverb: if you use a commodity or resource carefully and without extravagance, you will never be in need, or, if one is not wasteful then one will not be needy. You get the point, and so did I back then and still do today.

Dad would also say things like “It’s your nickel” back when the home phone rang in the 70’s with the cost increase to “It’s your dime” in the early 80’s! Which really both made no sense at the time. But the point is: my dad was cost conscious (boy oh boy am I too)! Dad was not wasteful and I greatly appreciate inheriting certain traits from him. I miss you so much dad! I know you are a part of me that I will have forever. 

Here’s a picture recently uncovered…my dad Dick and his baby Amy…no idea where we are and why I’m wearing silly glasses! Pretty cute though, huh! My dad, always a good looking man!

I am also quite cognizant of what I throw away. I don’t want to be wasteful and I don’t want to worsen any landfill with un-recyclable garbage (read: plastic packaging). I know plastic has many very practical and very useful purposes. But when it is used once and thrown away…that bothers me. Especially when I’m at a conference in a “green/sustainable building” and they serve all food items on single use disposal yet non-compostable products.

I recycle everything possible (and feasible considering time and other factors) and started composting (thank you to my sister Julie who gave me her used Earth Machine)! To me, the smell of good natural composition of kitchen and yard waste is incredible and to think of how it was made by helpful microbes, worms and other organisms!

When mixed with your soil, compost will revitalize it, make it healthier and more productive, and increase moisture retention! Can’t go wrong there, huh!? So, I use compost and spread it out in my yard and garden. I don’t use chemicals and pick weeds by hand!,  plus I’m into the No Mow method of lawn maintenance (although Randy isn’t!).

Viola! Beautiful lawn and it smells so fresh! However, and much to my chagrin……we got moles. They must really like their meals found in our front and back yard. So the good can seem not so good when now my lawn is disfigured with raised soft ridges and scattered holes. So, this is all natural and meant to be, right??!A mole is really interesting looking, lives underground and is nearly blind. There’s been a couple deaths ~ a baby and an adult mole ~ with corpses delivered by most likely my cat Alaska in the driveway and later buried by my animal loving  husband Randy….yes I make him dig a hole and bury. 

I read that although a mole can detect light it does not hunt using its eyes. Instead, it relies on smell (hence the interesting snout!) and on touching wriggling prey (hence those crazy nails) using sensory hairs on its face. So a mole is good for underground life.  Based on my research : )  A mole is also territorial, strong, a hard working solitude industrious digger, and a natural engineer (just like my brother Michael).

So to safely say, I’m a lot like a mole. Yes I need to get new prescription glasses, there’s nothing wrong with my sense of smell, my nails are natural, and I have a somewhat fuzzy face according to my husband. There may be other similarities, but I’ll let you make them on your own!

I’ve talked to people, including my sister Julie, who have attempted to wage all-out war on moles without success. What I’m realizing is that molehills are signs that the soil is in good shape. And I can celebrate that fact! But there is lingering doubt and some anguish over the mighty, mysterious and resilient mole. And I’ve concluded a mole deserves respect, and as often as I can offer it, tolerance.

The bottom line is that with me, I see value and purpose in everything that surrounds me. That’s because I’m a natural rehabber!

So, with this post, I ask you, My Attorney Reader, if you could use help in helping your client through the difficult maze of their claim, please let me help. I won’t come to court looking like a mole, but will show up like an industrious mole:  ready to dig in and get to the bottom of the deal.

Thanks for reading my post. Give me a call! 515-282-7753  vocresources@gmail.com to discuss your case. I love to help out using my forensic rehabilitation services!

___________________

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

Today is my daughter’s 23rd birthday (and I’m sure she’s pretty happy right now in Vegas with a good friend)!  I’m proud that she’s a person who is physically and emotionally strong and One Tough Cookie!  From the top of my little head as I write this post, here’s a few memories of my daughter and “her toughness” over the years. 

Before she was born, let alone named, my daughter’s birth cord was wrapped around her neck while she was being delivered in the hospital room. 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! 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! But, just doing her job!

In fact, Arin was a calm baby! I remember the first day of her life, she 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!) 

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 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!  It took a really long time for her new tooth to come in. BTW, earlier this month she got her wisdom teeth removed and was tough with that surgery and the healing time involved…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: As were in the process of remodeling our house (in 2009), Arin would’ve been age 13, she was cleaning our new windows (yes with water and an ecloth!) and the larger kitchen window  in our kitchen suddenly fell down (the type of windows that fold into your house), whacking her head.  Her head broke the glass, and as the window fell, it shattered on to the floor. Arin 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 grateful that we didn’t, gasp: sue! But no and her strong head was fine. 

Move on into her middle school years, from what I was told by said daughter, as a Christmas Story dare, Arin was outside snow shoeing at school on recess. And yep, she stuck her tongue on a metal pole and yep it got stuck and yep she had to pull her mouth away from the pole and yep, her tongue ripped and yep it hurt and bled!  OWW! 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 also actually 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 theee belly button (I actually did that once, but let it grow back in cuz it bothered me when I did yoga). And speaking of, both her ears have pretty good sized gauge holes! I’m not including the numerous tattoos Arin has received, which sounds a little too long and drawn out painful to me or anything else I can’t remember off the top of my head at this time.

Colorful AJ

One last story, 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 into the pool by another friend Jay (grrrr) and landed on another friend’s head who was in the pool. Kassidy, who she landed on, hurt not only her head, but bit down and injured her mouth 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 was having problems at work so on a Sunday 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. I guess considering I was able to live through hitting a train headfirst!  I believe this “toughness” also comes from Arin’s Grandma, my mom. Last year, my mom was experiencing an acute medical condition while visiting us. As we were waiting for her and her new husband’s flight departure, she took a dive at the airport (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 stitches rather than on the flight home. She didn’t cry or wince 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 strong mind as having the resources, mental skills, and physical capabilities to confront difficulties of all kinds. And then afterwards, a way to slow down and relax.

I know if I succeed, I caused it and if I failed, yep, I caused that too. 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 am proud of it!

Thank you for reading. 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 you get back, keep, or improve abilities that you need for daily life. I’m a rehabilitation counselor who cares.

___________________

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

Balance Your Case With Your Client’s Real Story. I’d Love to Write it!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In her teen days my sister Janice (the Floridian) was quite adept at gymnastics, particularly on the balance beam where she made great use of her balancing skills. When Janice moved on to college, dad cut up the balance beam he previously made for her to practice on for a new use as exit steps from a sliding glass door to the back patio during a home renovation project! 

Balance BeamDad constructed a balance beam and re-purposed it as well!

Balancing is involved in many areas of day-to-day living and is critical to an abundant life. People balance tires, bank accounts, relationships, priorities and work, we eat a balanced meal….we try to keep a balanced state of mind. In my life, finding balance is an ongoing lifetime project. I’ve heard comments like: It’s good to fall / fail because it means you were trying. If you think about your success, you will be successful. If you think about your falls or your failures, you’ll learn to improve.

My dad’s balance had not been good lately, although he was working on improving it. He was receiving in home physical therapy through the VA and moved continuously during each day. But a stroke and a fall down his basement steps lead to no return to life on earth.  Before he was airlifted to the hospital in Mason City, my mom called and we drove in the middle of the night to be with him in the hospital room. And to help him die. 

Dad died a week after he turned 83 in the morning on 5/5/16. I’ve blogged about Death as Part of Living, and can now fully realize one has to die from many things in order to move through life and live fully….and there’s always a story to tell.

Highway BalanceRichard R. Prochnow

4/26/33 – 5/5/16

As my dad aged, he never stopped working hard and to his best ability. There was a balance in how he lived his life, and I’ll never stop learning from him! I can calm my mind and simply hear his voice when he called on the phone….“Hi Amy, this is your dad.” [Like I didn’t know!] Then he’d talk about what was happening! And it was real, interesting and well-balanced for the soul.

In whatever situation you’re in, keep on practicing finding balance, and you’ll find a way to not fall; or a way to increase your sense of balance at its core. You may lose direction or momentarily become blinded, but you’ll find your way again. Trust yourself. Just like my dad did driving thousands if not millions of miles on the road traveling to participate in the world around him.

On a lighter side (yes, I cried but I want you to think about your own life with no tears involved), as part of my personal story, I remember an incident a long time ago while I was working as a temporary banquet server for a hotel. As I was walking into the room full of diners with a large tray of full drinking glasses (lemonade, tea and water)….well, never mind. Let’s say there was an imbalance that could’ve been disastrous!

Spilled WaterI learned to readjust the next tray and focus on my goal: just to get the glasses on the table safely without spilling any!

We balance our bodies in many, many ways. Balancing skills make use of poses and states of mind to focus attention on work, yoga, aerobics, tabata, healing touch, hiking, golfing, bike riding…being with the person you love. You get the drift, physical activity that involves any number of exercise moves or mental positions.

Yes, simply thinking with a sense of balance is very, very good and helps avoid failure (and falling). Jurists use a balancing test to weigh the importance of multiple factors in a legal case. If you want to highlight these factors, especially those that involve work and disability, let me know. I will be prepared to help you bring a balanced case to court. I will write a report that tells your client’s real story, with a concentration on their vocational background and potential future. If you need a life care plan for your client, again, I can help write about why the plan is needed and the likely costs for the person’s care.

The Chinese Symbol for Balance.

Please know my work is my life calling and I continuously learn and practice balancing all to help you help your client.

 

I’m actually really good at balancing and am pretty happy with my physical and mental states of mind. Call me at 515-282-7753 to tell me about your case.  A vocational evaluation or a life care plan may provide just the balance you were looking for to tell your client’s real story.

 ___________________

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

Seen The Reasonable or The Unreasonable Person Lately? I Look Every Day!

Reading Time: 5 minutes

This is a summary of my written responses to a discussion question while studying forensics through George Washington University a few years ago.  It includes edits and additions of course, because that’s what a writer does

Question: What does the term “reasonable man”  as a legal expression used in both criminal and tort law mean to you? (That’d be me, Amy the student at the time, with the online discussion involving my cohort from across the country!)

Answer: To me, I believe the term “reasonable (ahemm) person” refers to a theoretical person in society who shows average judgment, skill or care in his or her conduct; and this “person” becomes a standard or a basis for comparison when deciding issues of liability in civil or criminal cases involving negligence. 

…But then I start asking myself more questions, like, so how would an average person behave under the “exact same circumstances and conditions” because how could the context or a situation ever be the same to more than two people? With unique personalities, the many layers of culture in society, who really can be seen as average? 

…and doing my own questioning again, I thought, just how is one average person selected during the formation process, let along twelve “average people” who are impartial to the case and have the energy and focus needed to develop into a jury pool?

Image result for jury cartoonI’ve been summoned for jury duty once in recent memory, but didn’t move through to a next step. I have no idea why! Although I would love to serve on a jury, as it is a right and a duty, I wonder if my profession for some reason had anything to do with the selection process. The one thing that would bother me though is sitting for a long time during a trial. Ouch! Would need yoga!

Okay, so I continued with my thought process and answer: Our legal system compares actions of people and makes a decision based on the factors involved whether or not a reasonable person would or would not do the same thing. Using this standard can lead to strange outcomes I’ll bet. For my research, I found an interesting read titled Brigham Young Law Review titled Better Off with the Reasonable Man Dead or the Reasonable Man Does the Darndest Things

It’s written by Randy T. Austin in 1992 and includes numerous citations and some funny foot notes! One part reads: The Reasonable Man first appeared in the law in the 1837 case of Vaughan V Menlove. The defendant’s haystack caught fire due to poor ventilation. The defendant had been warned on numerous occasions that this would happen if he left the haystack. The defendant argued he had used his best judgment and did not foresee a risk of fire. The court held his best judgment was not enough. He was to be judged by the standard of a reasonable man.

Another part reads: The Reasonable Man Did he evolve? Was he created? has had many first names: Prudent, Ordinary, Typical, Ideal, Average, Right Minded. He has qualities of a good citizen, an ordinary chap.

On the other hand, others say he is inadequate, makes mistakes, is selfish and afraid. He does typical things (for example, takes out the garbage, opens doors for others) he doesn’t do atypical things (like park his car on the busy freeway to scrape a small blob of bird poop off his windshield or drive his ball when he clearly sees golfers still on the putting green.)

Image result for bird poop on windshield

It was a HUGE Blob! All the drivers on the freeway should’ve known why I stopped!

The Reasonable Man is shy and he doesn’t want to talk about himself, but his best friends (judges and law professors) are happy to talk about him. And talk about him a lot they do!

The review concludes that the reasonable man has enjoyed a long and prosperous career in law and the author Randy believes due to the arbitrariness of the standard and insensitivity to gender issues, it’s time to thank him for his contributions and bid him a fond farewell. So be it.

Then I found this written by George Bernard Shaw to ponder: The reasonable person adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. 

Next, I decided I’m going to play a game I just made up called Reasonable or Not Reasonable? As I move throughout my city, in the community and my own hood, I’ll keep a look out for a Reasonable Person or a Not Reasonable Person and decipher what transpires (via my own eyes) and brainstorm why it may be that I think this person is or is not average. The context, situation and circumstances will matter, and whether or not I’m somehow involved in the interaction will too. 

I’ll tally up how many average people and exceptional people I meet on a particular day and then talk to someone (You, my attorney reader?) about my results. What do you think my probabilities will look like? No doubt in my mind this will be a fun learning experience!  As a counselor, I have that sixth sense about others!

Related imageAs an aside, have you seen the play production 12 Angry Jurors? I saw the play at North High a few years back, with Taylor and Bridget being 2 of the jurors. I’ve also seen it at the Civic Center with Richard Thomas as the lead. It’s a great dramatic production and makes you really think about doubt!

I’m sure you’ve studied the “reasonable person” standard, please share any good legal case stories! Thank you for reading, and just a little more, here’s the link to my disclaimer because I’d like you to read it, too. Let me know what I can do to help you help your client, especially with a case that’s going to trial!

___________________

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

Cross Examination is Like Playing Ms. Pac-Man & I Like it!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

I know that a good attorney who excels at cross examining an expert witness is thoroughly knowledgeable of their case. There’s volumes of information and data that needs to be absorbed and analyzed before going to court! 

You my attorney reader, use intuition and instinct to discover weak points in the witness’ presentation, and in a fair and calm manner, formulate and ask clear questions to elicit precise information. This requires patience and self-control, especially when you’re working on the spot! Job well done!

I’ve been a vocational expert witness during workers’ compensation court proceedings about 12 times over the last 16 years. I have served in courtrooms (mostly conference rooms with a workers’ compensation deputy commissioner presiding) with up to eight people present.  Recently, I’ve also testified in divorce court proceedings, personal injury and medical malpractice cases. For a copy of my most recent litigation history, please inquire and I’ll be happy to provide it to you.

From my side of the stand, I better be familiar with rough courtroom conditions!

I’ve experienced verbal assaults on my work, my credentials, my vocation, and even my personality (I’m too nice, huh? hahaha!!) by the opposing attorney. I learned a lot from prior mistakes but I learn even more from recent successes.

I remember my first court appearance many moons ago. I was the primary job placement specialist on a case when the opposing attorney stabbed my body language in an erroneous and made up way.  Because there was nothing to see because human bodies speak for themselves, he undermined his credibility not mine. And I remember that well.

Image result for old fart cartoonI have no idea what the old fart was trying to do, but the judge didn’t care for it either!

I remember another court case  (this was in Council Bluffs) that involved typical cross examination, starting out with repeating basic questions to get different responses from me…then the pressure was applied! I used first-hand knowledge and communication skills to respond to his questions, remaining true to my convictions while expressing strong belief in my work.

Hopefully I revealed to everyone in the room that being confident, calm and polite is a respectful way to answer difficult questions (even personal attacks). The judge on this case was newly appointed at that time. I don’t know the decision nor have I reviewed the transcripts on that case. I suppose decisions and transcripts could help me to some degree, but I don’t ever have direct access to them plus to me it’s likely they are not pertinent to any future case other than learning from miscue or miscommunication errors.

My goal as an expert witness is to win over the people in the courtroom.

To prepare for cross, I think of all the factors that may arise on a case and pay close to attention to what I want to say about 5 to 7 main issues or circumstances most likely at the meat of the matter, commonly being extent of loss of earnings. I realize the cross examiner will try very hard to prove his or her theory of the case, while devaluing mine. The opposing attorney wants to discredit me, and will eat away at any potential weakness in what I said or reported.

I really am pretty good at Ms. Pac-Man! Wanna play?

Ms Pac-Man

I rely on my expertise, research on disability and rehabilitation, objective evidence, direct placement experiences, the principles of ergonomics along with the provision of reasonable accommodation to help determine an individual’s work potential.

I understand how worker profile changes may impact access to the labor market and wage earning capacity. I can respond creatively by highlighting the constructive and favorable strengths of how my work brings successful results and focus on the positive nature of change, motivation, and choice.

I educate everyone in the courtroom about the scope of my practice and how it works when the individual agrees with my approach. Most importantly, I match people within their own world of work which takes time, attention and a great appreciation for the jobs people do everyday.

Image result for jobs cartoon

Need help with your litigated case involving work and disability? Let me know what you see as the most important aspects of the case and I’ll let you know if I believe I’m the right person to help you help your client.  I’ll view my  interests, do a conflict of interest check and consider whether or not the case is in my area of expertise. And keep in mind I work on both sides of the fence!  Need an expert?  Contact me and thank you for reading.

___________________

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

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 counseling.

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 vocational 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 ~ 515-282-7753 or vocresources@gmail.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.

“Somebody Call for An Expert?” I’ll Answer That Call!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I’ve written about my fondness for Eeyore and want you to know I’m a bit attached to Gopher as well, especially when he comes to the rescue! You’ve heard the story when Pooh eats too much honey (honey is often on Pooh’s mind) at Rabbit’s place, gets rotund, and subsequently gets stuck in Rabbit’s front door.

Rabbit is not happy and help is needed! Gopher recommends using dynamite, and he’s an expert with that subject, but Pooh isn’t so hot on the idea. If dynamite was needed, Gopher was ready for the rescue! I’ll answer just like Gopher but am not an expert in dynamite, I am in forensic rehabilitation consulting!

Gopher

Popping out, Gopher exclaims “Somebody call for an expert?!” 

After thinking it through, Pooh, with assistance from his friendly team, realizes how to get unstuck. He agrees with Christopher Robin’s recommendations to patiently wait until he gets thin. Time passes, and it works (he gets thin!), however, he still needs a good jolt to move through the door. The team is successful and Pooh ends up in a happy place…filled with honey! 

Honey! Yummy! Related image

I hope you appreciate this Pooh story. I, too, use my expertise to help out in complex cases. I also hope you realize that a good expert has more than expertise that you can appreciate! 

I strive to educate others in a clear manner and explain a complex  subject to a lay audience in simple terms.  It’s important for me to stand up under questioning (here’s a post on intimidation), commit to my opinion, and stay within my area of expertise. Thankfully, all my training including my background in Community Health Education helps!  And you know what else, a good expert like me cares. I love my career, and deeply care for my work.   

When I made an executive decision to study forensic rehabilitation counseling at George Washington University (back on April 15, 2013), I initially felt a bit overwhelmed but focused on following through with the decision, complete the course, and graduate (which I did on August 15, 2014 ). The program taught me more about courtroom testimony and issues as they relate to personal injury, medical malpractice, life care planning, marital dissolution, product liability, and catastrophic injury cases.

The GWU forensic rehab graduate certificate takes about a year and half to complete and is similar to when I committed myself….ha ha, and completed the Life Care Planning certificate program in 2011 through the University of Florida.

My goal for completing yet another educational program allowed me to gain valuable insight on how to function more effectively, efficiently and confidently within the legal system. Although most of the coursework is online, visiting Washington DC is always awesome!  

When labeled “a firecracker” by a classmate during our 15th class reunion, I had to look up what that meant!

Yes, I realize I can be a bit firecracker-like, mostly because I’m a bold individual and will do what I have to do to accomplish my goals. There’s plenty of satisfying work to accomplish and life constantly moves forward at a really swift pace so it’s important to not slow down. I work hard for my customers, for myself and for my family.

I believe it’s always beneficial for lawyers and experts to spend time getting to know each other. Yep, attorneys think differently than counselors. So, please let’s spend a little quality time together before we meet in a courtroom! It will truly prove beneficial. You’ll find I’m a genuine person who truly cares about serving as an expert in the field and am willing to offer my voice to help you help your client.  Give me, Amy Botkin, a call at 515-282-7753. Thank you for reading!

___________________

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

 

Medical Practice and Procedures…It Happens, Things Go Wrong. Need Help with a MedMal case?

Reading Time: 5 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!

Randy’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! He does however donate blood on a regular basis. In fact, he was donating early on a Saturday morning (he’s donated 14 gallons according to the sticker on our front door!) when the nurse at the blood center told Randy she thought his pulse was “strange.” 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 (I scheduled it out of wifely concern); and sure enough, we got tachycardia…going 144 bpm. This means a cardiologist is needed. BTW, thank you to the nurse at the blood center for catching this.

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 BP 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.

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’excellent nurses while hospitalized told me of this nickname and the fact that the cardiologist has a fan base (being only one of few docs in town we were told 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 (there’s much to this 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) 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 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!

 

___________________

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

 

 

Happy Rehabilitation Counselor Appreciation Day!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

March 22 of each year is designated as a Happy Day to Celebrate Rehabilitation Counseling! A bouquet of pink roses, dark chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream help the day turn even happier!

My career choice is Rehabilitation Counseling, a unique job for high-energy people who want to make a very real difference in the lives of people with disabilities.  It’s also a challenging job that requires creativity and vision to see possibilities where others see only problems. 

Here’s a great brochure prepared by the Rehab Services Administration, Department of Education describing the profession, rehab jobs, and information you’ve always wanted to know!  It’s the source for some of the paragraphs in this post.

It seems when I reply that my master’s degree is in “Rehabilitation Counseling” often the person wants to know if that involves drugs and alcohol. The answer is no (although at times it does, depending on the case). 

I explain I consult on litigated cases involving work and disability.  Then I usually get a ‘oh that’s cool’ response and I continue the conversation, keeping in mind the context and scope depends on the inquisitor! 

EnlighteningRehab Counseling is a High Energy Profession! 

In short, the goal of rehabilitation counseling is empowering people with (or even without) disabilities to make informed choices, build viable careers and live more independently in the community.

Rehabilitation counseling trains professionals who will be dedicated to working with individuals with disabilities in order to help them achieve productive and independent lives. Just as other counseling tracks, rehabilitation counseling educational programs – in order to produce competent and certifiable professionals – are at the master’s level.

Drake University, School of Education, Des Moines, Iowa offers an excellent Council of Rehabilitation Education (CORE) accredited master’s level Rehabilitation Counseling Program.  This accreditation enables graduates of the program to become Certified Rehabilitation Counselors. The Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) sets the standard for quality rehabilitation counseling services in the United States and Canada.

Image result for spike drakes mascotDrake’s Mascot Spike with a Nice Bike!

Below’s another great bulldog picture. She has experience in Drake’s Beautiful Bulldog contest! Her name is Fat Amy. She owns Jeska Reese Dean, a family friend.

FatAmyFat Amy is Experienced!

I completed all required coursework at Drake University in the Master of Science in Counseling program. In addition, I took extra coursework focusing on job placement and mental health.

I was then eligible to take a national examination which I took on October 30, 2004, and upon passing, I earned the coveted CRC (Certified Rehabilitation Counselor) designation. Since then I re-certify every five years.

For background purposes, there are two main sections of the CRC exam:  Counseling and Rehabilitation/Disability.  A statistical procedure called equating is used to ensure all examinees demonstrate the same level of ability in order to pass the exam. Here’s my results:

Counseling Section:

Amy E. Botkin’s Scaled Score:       598         Passing Scaled Score:   500

&

Rehabilitation/Disability  Section:

Amy E. Botkin’s Scaled Score:       628            Passing Scaled Score:   500

TaDa

Here’s a link to my CRCC Certificate 71256. I love my career and every day try my hardest to use my talents wisely!

Please let me know if you have questions about the profession, my education or the professional  associations and groups I belong to. It may be a good career option for someone you know!

If your career is in law, please contact me at 515-282-7753 to ask me questions regarding how my work helps attorneys help their clients!  BTW, when is Attorney Appreciation Day?

__________________

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