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

Asked on April 30, 2016 under Personal Injury, Louisiana


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).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.