Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Negligence claim effects on hospitals

I have had the displeasure of dealing with hospital bureacracy in the last several days. My sister is pregnant and in pre-term labor. First, we learned they no longer allow camcorders in the labor and delivery room. I guess too many sue happy people had fat, juicy evidence for lawsuits via the video recording. Second, dealing with procedure due to legal liability is out of hand.

We went to the hospital the first time when my sister was at 34 weeks, 6 days. We were told if she was at 35 weeks, they would just let her deliver. Instead the pumped her full of drugs (I think our count was seven) in order to stop her labor. After 18 hours in the hospital, we were sent home.

At 35 weeks, 1 day, we are back at 3 am. Only to be told that while they will not stop labor, even though she is contracting every 3-5 minutes and delivers fast, no can do. Go home. She had a doctor's appointment later that afternoon. Her doctor said, you are dialated to 3, and 75% effaced, time for baby----go to hospital right now and deliver that baby.

We trip down to the hospital at 5:00 pm. Now she is dilated to 4, and 85% effaced. They give her drugs, then sent her pain. Why? They won't help her along. She has not slept in 72 hours, she is emotionally wrecked....but the damn doctor and hospital claims that they are only thinking of the baby. I think they are thinking of lawsuits. Hospitals all over the nation deliver early at 35 weeks. Risks to baby are minimal. But risks increase greatly when mom is distressed.

I think it is a racket. What about mom's ability to direct her own care? What about that? What about the fact that she is so bruised and battered from continued injections that there are no more places for the hospital to prick her for her IV? What about her comfort, her health, her ability to savely and effectively deliver her child when the time comes? There are many things that would be safe and without risk to the mom or baby to help her. Instead, "Sorry honey, but this could go on for weeks."

Thank you John Edwards, and greedy corporate tort lawyers.....................................

Monday, December 22, 2008

Professor Rankings

I thought I would stick my neck out and "grade" the professors that I have had at my time at Willamette. I am not going to do a #1 and so on....What I will say is "Top" meaning I would take any class I could from them. "Very Good" Meaning, I liked them but there were a few issues. "Average" meaning the professor was okay, but nothing to write home about, or "Yikes" meaning do anything you can to avoid this professor.

First Semester:
Torts: Richardson, Average. Richardson is a good enough lecturer but a bit on the condescending side. The first thing he will tell you is that you will teach yourself torts, and he is right. Much of his lecturing is abstract and finding the elements of the tort are very difficult. Buy the crunchtime and safe yourself from time. What I will say is he is one of the nicest men outside of the class that you will meet. Very approachable during his office hours and he is willing to talk through any thing you do not understand.

Civil Procedure: Wise, Average lecturer, Very Good personality. I love Professor Wise. He has been voted by the student body as the professor most likely to go off on a tangent for 4 years running. He has a very clever since of humor. Also, his life experience as a federal prosecutor, makes for a very interesting conversation. I took my daughter to his class and she drew him a picture that now hangs proudly in his office. As for a lecturer, those tangents make class very, very difficult--as if civ pro is not hard enough. However, I would take a class with Professor Wise again hands down.

Legal Research & Writing: Jacobson, Very good. Professor Jacobson will become your law school mom. When life is too much, she is waiting with a bowl full of chocolates and a hug. As for the teaching, she is not always clear in what she wants. But she will teach you how to write, and write well.

Contracts I: KCP, Top. He is one of the best professors I have had the fortune to have a class with. He teaches with a cumulative approach so when it comes to studying for the final, you sit down and realize that really it is just tweaking the details because you already know what you need to. His exams are fair and his grading procedures are clear before you take the test. He also gives you a copy of the last semester's exam and a copy of the high paper so you know what he is looking for. He is also a very nice guy and very approachable outside of class.

Criminal: Appleman, Top: I would take a class with her anytime, anywhere. Now, most students either love her or hate her. I find her dry wit and sarcasm in class amusing and entertaining. Her teaching style is also cumulative in that by the time you are done, you know much more than you thought you did. Also, she is very, very approachable outside of class.

1st year, 2nd Semester:

Property: Diller, Top: Professor Diller is also has a cumulative teaching style. This was one of my highest grades for my second semester. Diller is engaging and challenges you constantly trying to tie all areas of the law together. His final is fair, but tough. One great thing about Diller is that he will allow you to throw the kitchen sink at the exam, so if you have a relevant theory outside of property, he will give you points for it. However, he is a bit hard to talk to outside of class, but is willing to try and clarify his points. I would take any class that Diller taught that was available.

International Law: Wise, Very Good. Passionate about this subject and all I said above still is true.

Contracts II: Runkel, Yikes. Runkel is very entertaining and very engaging outside of class. However, in class I always felt like the cornered mouse that the tom cat was just batting back and forth between his big paws before the mouse's final demise. I learned absolutely nothing in this class. His lecturing is terrible and abstract. I still don't understand some very important concepts of contract law.

Con Law I: Williams, Yikes. I would never, as long as I live, take another class with Williams. I did get one of my best grades from him, however, his final was very unfair. The whole question was on a dissent of a case that we spent exactly 7 minutes on in class. While Williams is approachable outside of class and very nice, inside of the classroom he is condescending and often belittling. He is very open about his political belief's and if you don't believe as he does, he takes a very patronizing approach. Don't get me wrong, he is a very intelligent man who seems to enjoy debate, but I always got the feeling that he was just waiting for you to mess up so he could stick it to you.

2nd year, 1st semester

Evidence: Standen, Top. Standen is tough, very tough. But his confrontational teaching style with the cumulative aspect keeps you on your toes the whole semester. He has one of the best sense of humor I have ever seen in a law professor. I felt stimulated and afraid to drift off during his class. I was also mentally and physically exhausted after the exam. I would definitely take another class from him if I have the opportunity.

Con Law II: Carrasco, Average. Carrasco is a confusing guy. He has a background in philosophy and so often times you cannot understand what his question to the class means. This leaves alot of confusion. However, his background in litigating establishment clause, free-speech, and freedom of religion cases in the federal courts makes his teaching interesting. He brings his live cases and experiences to the class and it opens the door to a new understanding. I am not sure I would take another class from him because he just talks on a whole other level from you, but I would be open to it.

Admin Law: Dobbins, Very Good. Dobbins clerked for Supreme Court Justice Stevens and has alot of experience in the area of Admin Law. Dobbins is one of the smartest and nicest men I have met while at Willamette. He is passionate about his topic and truly wants to see his students succeed. He does a great job and making a tough topic easy.

Professional Responsibility: Tamayo, Average. Professor Tamayo is approachable and a great lecturer. We met for only 2 hours a week so it is hard to say what she would be like in another subject. Out of all the professor's I have had, she still has a question mark over her head. Her exam seemed to be taken out of the examples and explanations with a few little things changed.

Remedies: Standen, Morris-Collins.
Standen: Top--all I said above applies here as well. Prof Standen was involved in an accident half way through the semester and Morris Collins took over.
Morris-Collins: Very passionate about the topic of remedies. I can't really grade her because I did not have her from start to finish. For the few weeks I had her, I was left with a favorable opinion and would be open to taking another class from her in the future.

Coming in May: 2nd year, 2nd Semester grading of Saucy, Graham, Landau, Appleman, and KCP. As you can tell, I am taking additional classes from Appleman and KCP--we shall see if they live up to my kudos above.


The winter break is a time to de-stress. 30 days to breathe before the new round of classes begin. Funny thing, de-stressing. Since the end of finals a week ago, all that I want to do is sleep. My body craves rest and I swear I could sleep the days away, and a few of them I did. We were hit with a winter storm and I could not get out of the house for two days that I should have been at work. So I slept the days away! I feel more alert, but like I could still sleep. I was reading about sleep debt and how your body can loose so much that it shuts down. Apparently that is where I am at.

I don't think the law student truly understands the amount of stress that we are under until after finals. Things become a little clearer and it becomes easier to breathe. The constant muscle tension and knots ease. You find yourself laughing more and easier. The pace slows down and you realize it won't be the end of the world if you take your time. And by the end of the break, you begin to wonder what to do with your time. Right now, having time to just lounge on the couch, making a butt groove, is a novelty. However, by January 4th, I will be bored.

For now, I breathe a little easier.....

Monday, December 15, 2008

I'm FREE! [Well for a couple of weeks, that is]

Finals are over and I survived again. Not sure how I did because this was truly grueling for me. My back going out was the worst possible thing to happen as when I was in pain, I could not study and when I was on pain medication, I could not study. Either way, I was jacked. I have resolved myself that my GPA is high enough that one bad semester, while not optimal, will also not place me in the position of losing my scholarship or being kicked out.

I am really jazzed about next semester's schedule. I made a resolve that I would always take classes that interested in me, but I also said I would take one in an area of law that I would not be likely to practice. This next semester will be Family Law, Oregon Family Law, Legislation, Criminal Procedure I, and Employment Law and Discrimination.

For those that know me, I want to prosecute and then maybe eventually practice family law. I also have a strong background in Legislation and have worked to pass bills in Oregon. I once thought I would run for office, but realize I have no ambition in that are any longer. In addition, Crim Pro is taught by a favorite professor of mine--who rocks! Oregon Family Law is taught by a local top family attorney.

Employment Law and Discrimination is the class I am taking to stretch myself. I have found that I really like the study of discrimination issues. I have no desire to practice employment law, but someday, if I had the opportunity, I might think about discrimination as an area that interests me. Plus, I really liked the Professor who teaches the class.

For now, I am going to try and not think about school and enjoy my time off. It hit me this weekend that I am now 1/2 way through this crazy journey we call law school. I am amazed and astounded that the time has flown by so fast. I started this journey 6 1/2 years ago and yet it seems like yesterday. As each semester creeps by, I realize just how incredibly close I am to practicing law--and fulfilling a dream. WOW!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Stress: When the body gives out

Stress manifests itself in so many different ways. Often it creeps up on us and then BAM, we feel the effects. For the past several semester of undergrad and then the last two of law school, I would get an upper respiratory infection. This was how my body would deal with it. This semester, no upper respiratory infection---but something else happened, something unexpected.

I had a final on Monday. Finished it okay and started studying for the final on Wednesday. I was having a hard time focusing and I was feeling really tired, but I was exhausted from this semester anyway, so I thought nothing of it. I kept telling myself, "Just 10 more days, just 10 more days." Wednesday I woke up and my body was screaming, it hurt from head to toe. Everything was tight and I was physically nauseated from the tension. My final was a four hour final in the afternoon. So that morning I called the day salon to see if my massage therapist could get me in after the exam. She had a cancellation, so I booked.

That night was bliss. She took away my pain and I felt wonderful. Thursday, I was unusually tired, but I thought that it was because of the relaxed state of my body. No problem, my next final was not until Monday a.m., I was set to go. I woke up Friday morning, got ready to take my daughter to school, sat on the couch to put my shoes on and BAM--radiating pain centering in my back and down my right leg, and up the right side of my back. I was crying, rolling in pain. My daughter was totatally freaked out. She called my mom. I told my mom I was going to pass out from the pain, she freaked out. She came over to my house and took me to the doctor.

The weird thing is that I have never had any real back problems, at least not since my accident 13 years ago. There was no pull, pop, or snap when I bent over. No known injury. And then my doctor says, "You are under alot of stress, sometimes out bodies start shutting down as a warning." Just what I wanted to hear! He prescribed vicodin........................

Pain medication and studying do not mix. Apparently I am also one of those few people that vicodin does not make groggy. I just get a little space cadetish like. So long and short of it is that expect the unexpected during exam times. The stress will manifest itself in ways that you will never be able to predict.