Would I have a case against an ambulance driver who accused me of being a drug-seeker and not really ill?

I was having chest pains so my husband called 911. The paramedics came out and said it probably was not my heart but a severe panic attack and wanted me to be taken in to be checked out. When the ambulance came the driver walked into my house and asked point blank (in front of my 10 year-old), “What are you seeking”? I asked him to repeat himself and he said that there plainly was nothing wrong with me and he had the right to, “Call it like he sees it”. He said that he would still transport me but I was just doing it to get drugs. My daughter is still upset and doesn’t understand. What action, if any, can i take against the driver or the ambulance company?

Asked on January 6, 2011 under Malpractice Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Legally, there is probably nothing you can do...this wasn't stated to 3rd parties, so it's not defamation; it takes VERY egregious behavior to normally make out a claim for emotional injury or damages if there was no physical injury; and people generally have a right to be nasty or say upsetting things. Even if you had a cause of action, the fact your daughter is "upset" probably does not give rise to enough potential recovery to make it worthwhile to sue. If you are seeking some justice, not compensation, contact higher ups at the ambulence company, at any hospitals they are affiliated with, etc. and lodge a complaint against this behavior--maybe they will take action against the driver.


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