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In ER with pneumonia told I was being admitted. Error by registration was cause for change in treatment plan. Can I sue?

Sacramento, CA |

While on vacation in CA, I became ill and went to an emergency room. I was advised I had pneumonia and was being admitted. They for some unknown reason (I have Medicare) contacted (without consent to discuss my condition) the Veterans Administration and then I was told I was being transferred to a VA Hospital. When I said no, they basically booted me out the door. I cancelled the rest of my vacation and returned home suffering a great deal of pain and stress. Once home, I went to the ER and all the tests were repeated with the same results and was hospitalized for a week with a severe case of pneumonia. They had no right to contact the VA and as a result of doing so I incurred added expenses, medical and personal and endured a great amount of pain and suffering and a worsened condition.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Some of the specific details (not set forth in your summary) will bear on the issue of whether this claim, if successfully asserted, would be worth the effort and investment. How long was the interim between the time you left the first ER and the time you were admitted to the facility near your home? In other words, what delay in treatment was caused by this sequence of events? Is there actual evidence that your condition was made worse by that interval, or is your contention based on the logic that pneumonia should be arrested as soon as possible?

    Med mal cases are expensive and difficult to litigate and in most cases the result is not what the lay person would expect based on their experience of the actual event. You should consult with one or more skilled and experienced med mal lawyers, but don't be surprised if the damages and proof issues here are reasons for a recommendation against pursuing a lawsuit.

    My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.


  2. These are expensive cases to litigate. While it sounds very harsh what they did, the damages would probably not justify the expense (believe it or not). If you do want to consider suing, there is a ONE YEAR statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims in California and you would need to have the records reviewed by a medical expert to determine if there as a "breach of the standard of care."

    Nothing in this communication should be construed as creating an attorney client relationship. This is for informational purposes only. Attorney will take no action on your behalf unless and until a written retainer agreement is signed. There are strict time deadlines on filing claims and, as such, you are advised to consult with and retain an attorney immediately to file such claims timely or you will lose any right to recovery.


  3. It is likely that your treatment course and recovery would have been similar even had the California hospital admitted you and treated you on the spot. This means that it would be difficult to show that the hospital caused you to incur damages (over above the pneumonia you already had).

    Also keep in mind that the California statute of limitations is just 1 year. After this limitations period, you can't bring a claim.

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