do I have a malpractice case?

I was hospitalized for colitis. The emergency room doctors and nurses were top notch. The fifth floor people were not. I have pre-existing conditions, COPD, sleep apnea. I cannot lay down without having a CPAP mask on at a pressure of 12. I asked repeatedly for a cpap machine, and was promised that respiratory therapy would bring me one. They never showed for my entire visit, including the hours I spent in the emergency department, doped up on the delotid I was given for pain. That alone in itself put my life at risk, regardless of the infection I have, which was also life threatening. I was able to use my personal rescue inhaler once while I was in my room, but that was quickly removed from my posession by the nurse and supposedly taken to pharmacy, and I was given a new one, which I was only allowed to use when I requested it and at 4 to 6 hour intervals. I repeatedly asked for a CPAP machine in my room and in the ER and was given a nasal canula running 4 liters of oxygen, and was expected to sleep that way. The floor nurse the night I was sent up was a complete airhead, I was closed in my room like a criminal, it took 15-18 minutes to be answered when I rang for a nurse, and an aid did not remove my IV angiocath properly, allowing me to bleed all over the room. An the doctor on the floor was patronizing and began making promise after promise to try and make me stay. I will not stay where I feel that I’m being ignored and my medical issues are not being met.

Asked on July 3, 2017 under Malpractice Law, Idaho


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Your question does not mention any lasting significant harm or injury; if that is the case (as we hope), you do not have a malpractice case. The civil court system (e.g. lawsuits, including malpractice suits) is not designed to punish people, but to provide compensation for actual injuries, damage, costs, and losses incurred (and not for might have happened,but did not); if you suffered only a bad, even an awful night or even several days, but are otherwise ok, the amount of compensation you could receive is very small and would be far less the cost of a malpractice suit, especially given that you would have to hire out of your own money a doctor to examine you, write a report, and testify (you cannot bring a malpractice case without expert medical testimony).  A better recourse would be to file a complaint about the staff and hospital with the state's medical licensing board/agency.

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