CanI sue a hospital if not all health information was disclosed to me and feelthat I did not get appropriate care due to lack of health insurance?

I went to a hospital due to passing out; I am a 20 year-old diabetic and have no insurance. They did some bloodwork, x-rays, and EKG. I was sent me home with medication for dizziness -which was not the problem. On the same day I was still having the same problem, so Iwent to another hospital and was told there was a bundle branch block which showed on the EKG that they performed. I still don’t have an exact diagnosis on everything but at least I was told something. I still am getting the run-around on testing due to no insurance which is wrong. What can I do?

Asked on July 14, 2010 under Malpractice Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Malpractice is when someone does not receive medical care that is up to the accepted standards of medical care. For malpractice to be worth taking legal action about, there must be some damage, economic loss, harm, etc. resulting from it--otherwise, even if the medical care provider was in the wrong, there's not really anything to sue about.

It's not clear that all information must be disclosed to a patient--some may not be information that is relavant (e.g. it's harmless) or understandable to a layperson. If this was information that would have helped your medical treatment, then there may be malpractice, and if you think that's the case, you should consult with a malpractice attorney who can review your case.

In terms of testing: while you have to be able to be treated at a public hospital even without insurance, it's not 100% clear how much testing has to be done on the uninusured; e.g. if the doctor's believe they've done everything required or reasonable, they don't necessarily have to perform additional tests on someone who cannot pay for the additional testing; the obligation is to provide adequate medical care, not to do every test that could theoretically be done. If you feel you're not getting adequate care or they're not taking you seriously, that again is something to discuss in detail and confidence with a malpractice attorney. Good luck.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

What you are seeking to do is sue the first hospital for medical malpractice, correct?  Claims for medical malpractice can be complicated ones, often requiring certain steps be followed by an attorney to even bring the claim, such as an affidavit from a doctor that the claim has merit.  The best person to answer this question is an attorney in your area.  Consultations are generally done free of charge.  The attorney ma have you sign some authorizations to obtain the medical information that they need to evaluate the claim but do not sign a retained unless you are comfortable with the attorney.  They may also be able to help with ensuring your needs for care are met. Good luck with everything.

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