Can hospital staff confiscate my phone and attempt to search it?

I was in the ER of a hospital in Louisiana
and they left me on a hospital bed while they
went about their business doing nothing. The
ER was empty and I was frustrated at not
getting treatment so I began filming to
record the time being elapsed. A male
hospital worker grabed my phone from me and
attempted to search it and would not return
it until I was discharged. Is this legal? No
other patients other than myself was being
recorded.

Asked on April 30, 2016 under Personal Injury, Louisiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, it is not legal, but there is little you can do about it, other than complain to the hospital senior management, as well as to the state board which licenses hospitals and nurses--and possibly go to the media to see if they will run the story.
The problem is, you were not injured or damaged in any way by this: you didn't loose money, your reputation was not damaged, protected information was not posted on line, etc. In the absence of such a definiable injury with quantifiable consequences, if you were to sue, you would not get any compensation, because the law doesn't provide compensation as a general rule for one-time improper acts that don't result in a loss or injury.
You could try contacting the police, but in my experience, the police will not bother with anything this minor beyond simply writing up a report (they write up a report pretty much any time someone asks them to).


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