What are my rights if I had bi-lateral pulmonary embolisms that were left untreated for hours?

I went to the ER for shortness of breath, coughing up blood. Hours went by

before I was seen, given pain medication or had labs/testing. No monitoring, no

EKG, no CT scan, no echo, no IV access, no oxygen, no pain medication, etc. I spent over 4 hours sitting in a room while in excruciating pain and coughing

up blood before they drew blood or sent me for a CT scan. The staff in the ER

failed to put oxygen on me or even monitor my oxygen saturation/vital signs

even after being asked to. The ER doctor did take the time to make me feel like

a drug seeker though so that was nice – since I’m a registered nurse and also

employed at the same hospital. I went for the CT scan hours later and the tech that performed the scan freaked out because I didn’t have oxygen on. She was the first to recognize the importance of oxygen when shortness of breath is an active issue. Then, 4 hours later, after the CT scan showed over a dozen bi-lateral pulmonary embolisms, they quickly drew blood, EKG and everything that should have been done very quickly after I arrived in the ER in such bad shape. I now have permanent lung damage and pain from lung tissue that died because

the blood clots just set there for who knows how long. There are order sets in place for ER’s to go by – it spells out what should be done for certain symptoms/conditions. The ER failed to use this or their medical education to provide emergency treatment in a life threatening medical emergency. 1 in 3 people die from a single pulmonary embolism, I had over a dozen that were left untreated for hours.

Asked on August 28, 2016 under Malpractice Law, North Carolina

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Medical malpractice is negligence.  Negligence on the part of the hospital is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable hospital would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).
Prior to filing a lawsuit against the hospital, it may be possible to settle the case with the hospital's insurance carrier.  Notify the hospital's insurance carrier in writing of your claim.
If you have been released by the doctor upon completion of your medical treatment or have been declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary, obtain your medical bills, medical reports and documentation of wage loss.  Your claim filed with the hospital's insurance carrier should include those items.
Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your medical condition and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.
If the case is settled with the hospital's insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.
If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the hospital's insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the hospital.
If the case is NOT settled, your lawsuit against the hospital for negligence must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.


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