This summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to explore healthcare law in a hospital setting by serving as an administrative intern at Boone Hospital Center. Not only was I able to gain practical experience, I decided that healthcare law is going to shape my career path. My supervising attorney showed me the many facets of healthcare law by allowing me to participate in activities such as legal research, drafting hospital policies, job shadowing, attending board meetings, and observing a medical malpractice trial. Through these different undertakings, she showed me how complex, challenging, and rewarding healthcare law can be. I decided to attend law school so I could enjoy the versatility of a law degree and to help those that cannot help themselves. Through my experience this summer, I realized that practicing this type of law will satisfy my purpose for attending law school.
Although all experiences I had this summer working at Boone were exceptional, one clearly sticks out in my mind as exemplary. One day, my supervisor suggested I job shadow the customer service director in order to see the delicate balance of keeping patients happy and the physicians and Boone lawsuit free. When I arrived to meet with her, she was already meeting with a former patient who was crying. She motioned me to come in and listen to the meeting. This patient explained a string of bad health events, which included multiple surgeries, some of which were performed at Boone. She also described how gauze had been left behind subsequent to a surgery. The customer service director immediately showed sympathy instead of shifting blame. The former patient appreciated her attitude and remained calm throughout the meeting. Through the efforts of the customer service director, the patient left the room not threatening with litigation, but instead looking into alternatives with Boone. Seeing how the customer service director was able to balance the patient’s emotions with Boone’s interests was fascinating.
Another experience of the summer consisted of observing a medical malpractice case in Montgomery County. In this case, a plaintiff brought suit against a physician and Boone. There were substantial questions as to whether an employment relationship existed as the physician merely had privileges at Boone. Additionally, it seemed pretty clear that the physician upheld the appropriate standard of care in the case. I was fortunate enough to observe the trial and see Boone win on directed verdict. Observing this process proved interesting and enlightening.
The last notable component of this summer is a research project I completed regarding state adoption policies. In the state of Missouri, and many other states, there are stringent laws in place restricting with whom a newborn can leave the hospital. These laws cause many problems for hospitals in surrogacy arrangements and other adoption placements. My supervisor gave me the opportunity to research these particular issues and draft hospital policy along with reviewing other BJC adoption policies.
This summer served as a great opportunity and has already helped me with the search for future jobs. In August of 2012, I was hired as a temporary legal assistant at the Missouri Hospital Association. My supervisor stated that my work at Boone was what set my apart from other applicants. Additionally, I am currently looking into paid internships at non-profit hospitals around the county. Working at Boone over the summer served as an invaluable experience for which I am grateful.