I’m Jean K. Cooper. I save attorneys time and money.

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After earning an Associate of Science in Nursing degree from a community college in Maryland, I was determined to have the strongest framework for my nursing practice I could get. So, I applied for a New Graduate position at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, in the Surgical ICU. It was exciting and very scary! It was the 1970’s and open-heart surgery was pretty new, and I was assigned to care for fresh open-heart surgical patients. Renal transplant was also new, and I was often assigned to care for those patients, too. We had mandatory education every week and missing sessions resulted in dismissal. During that first year, I learned the highest standard of nursing practice, which I have employed throughout my career.

After a little more than a year at Johns Hopkins I returned to Connecticut and one of my colleagues suggested that I go to work at the VA Medical Center in West Haven. At first, I thought it would not be the place for me. However, I quickly learned that many outstanding healthcare innovations have been developed within the VA Healthcare system, such as the implantable pacemaker, nicotine patch, bar code medication administration system, and the first successful liver transplant was performed at the Denver VA Medical Center. Medical schools in the United States that receive funding from the government-affiliated with the VA Healthcare System to provide physician training.

I began working as a staff nurse at the West Haven VAMC in the Epilepsy Research Unit that had a sharing agreement with Yale University to study how seizure activity affected people physically and cognitively. We collaborated with researchers as they developed new methods of evaluating epilepsy and medications to treat seizures such as Tegretol and Depakote. After about three years, I was reassigned to the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) at the West Haven VAMC. We cared for Veterans who presented with complex critical conditions. My connection to research projects continued in the MICU and we collaborated with the developers of Lactulose that was initially developed to lower blood ammonia levels in alcohol-addicted patients. We quickly learned Lactulose was also particularly useful in treating constipation. I remained in the MICU at West Haven VAMC for the next eleven years. When I left the West Haven VAMC, I had been the Nurse Manager of that unit for about a year and a half.

In 1990, I transferred to the Phoenix VAMC to work in the Nursing Education Department. I transitioned in the Critical Nursing Education Position. In late 1992, Congress funded the Women Veterans Health Program that was established to provide women veterans with equal access to the same quality of health care as male veterans. The program also broadened the context of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to include care for the aftermath of sexual trauma associated with military duty. I was among the first few full-time Women Veterans Health Program Managers in the VA Healthcare System. We worked together across the VA System to develop the Program and increase awareness among all Veterans that Women Veterans were eligible for the same benefits as their male counterparts. By the time I left that position to retire from the VA System, I was the Regional Manager of the program with oversight for Women Veterans Health Program at seven VAMC and their community clinics in the Southwest.

Even though I was working full-time in my clinical and administrative nursing positions, I pursued legal nurse consulting volunteering to review cases for the Justice Project and working with the Maricopa County Public Defenders Office through the late 1990s and early 200s. I finally retired from the VA Healthcare System after 32 years. In July 2007, Cal Raup hired me into my first full-time legal nurse consulting position working in medical malpractice defense. I worked with him ever since and he was my mentor as I progressed through my career as a legal nurse consultant (LNC), and he continued to push me toward excellence as I worked with him as a contractor assisting with case development of plaintiff medical malpractice litigation. Over the years, my LNC practice has expanded to include criminal defense case development, expert fact witness, and personal injury case development.

Just as in clinical nursing, many diseases and conditions appear the same but every patient and individual who has a legal concern is different. It is rewarding to use my education and experience as I collaborate with attorneys to explore the details of their cases and apply principles of health care standards and knowledge to each unique case.

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You are an attorney - your core competency is the law. Let me dig through the medical cases and provide you with the summary so you can win the case!

- Jean K. Cooper

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