Can I sue a hospital for not taking me in? 15 Answers as of June 26, 2013

I went to the ER to be treated for a pain in the back of my leg, pain in my foot (due to a break that hasnt healed in the estimated time), and numbness on the left side of my face (due to a bicycle accident). They asked me to state one of the above problems that I would like to be treated for, and that I could explain all the problems to the doctor. I choose the pain that radiates down my leg. I went to registration then they said I was free to leave. I asked why I can't see a doctor, they told me I needed to be seen by an orthopedic. I explained that I have an appointment to see one this coming Thursday and I was in alot of pain. They said to just take some motrin and that I can go home.

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A. Daniel Woska & Associates, P.C.
A. Daniel Woska & Associates, P.C. | Dan Woska
n society today I suppose you can sue just about anybody for anything. However, you must be able to prove damages. When the hospital refused to treat you must show an injury or damages to be able to recover from the hospital. The cost of presenting a case for trial can be terribly expensive. Expert witnesses, discovery issues, expenses related to the case can add up to thousands of dollars. A contingency attorney will normally not take on a case without damages, which this case may be. Please see an attorney familiar with these cases and get an opinion on how to proceed.
Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
Replied: 8/22/2011
Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm
Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm | Thomas Bulman
Not unless you died.
Answer Applies to: Montana
Replied: 8/18/2011
Law Offices of Richard Copeland, LLC
Law Offices of Richard Copeland, LLC | Richard Copeland
Under the circumstances you've described, you don't have a case against the hospital. You needed an orthopedics advice. The appointment with the orthopedic was already set up, and your situation, although very difficult and painful for you, wasn't a medical emergency. The hospital's actions were legally appropriate.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 8/18/2011
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
There are regulations that govern ER treatment and there might be some violation of regs. But unless you have been badly hurt by the delay it wont amount to anything of much value. It is not enough to catch someone in violation of a rule or statute, you must show real consequential damage as a result, you should write a letter of protest to the hospital administrator and perhaps to the local medical society.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 8/18/2011
Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
In my opinion, it is likely that the hospital can claim that not taking you in was a judgment call that did not violate any standard of medical practice. You can file a complaint with the NYS Department of Health and they can look into it.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
    I suppose you can sue but every claim has two main components: (1) liability and (2) damages. Assuming they were negligent in not treating you, what are your damages? Wasted time in the ER? Pain for several more days (which if Motrin masked the pain, there is not much of an issue at all). If you had a serious consequence, such as you leg getting gangrene and requiring it to be amputated because they threw you back on the street, then you would have a case worth suing over. But I don't see it here. Sorry.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    David Hoines Law
    David Hoines Law | David Hoines
    Doesn't sound like much of a claim. Suing a hospital is very expensive.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    LT Pepper Law
    LT Pepper Law | Luke T. Pepper
    There is no basis for suit here. The ER was not a place for these sort of problems as the injuries were not acute and could wait until your appointment.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    Only if 1) they were negligent in assessing that waiting to see the orthopedic doctor was sufficient, and 2) the failure to see you caused permanent injury that would have been avoided they admitted you and treated you.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    The Torkzadeh Law Firm
    The Torkzadeh Law Firm | Reza Torkzadeh
    There are many instances where a medical provider may be held responsible for failure to treat. I suggest you immediately speak with an attorney who can properly evaluate your specific case. More information is needed. In addition, it is important to note that since this was a result of a bicycle accident, the individual who caused the accident may also be responsible for anything happening subsequent to the accident as well.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/7/2012
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    If you go on to develop a serious condition from them turning you away and the ensuing delay in treatment then you may have a claim. Otherwise, I would say no.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A.
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A. | Christopher J. Roberts
    Hospitals are required to see patients who have emergency conditions (something that requires urgent treatment to save life or limb), but generally do not have an obligation to treat non-emergencies. So it may be frustrating, but their telling you to see your own doctor is probably not actionable.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/20/2012
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates | Lyle B. Masnikoff
    Depends if you have permanent injuries as a result of being turned away.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/17/2011
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