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How do I make a complaint against a hospital?

Ventura, CA |

I went to ER for skin infection Sun night. Had IV w/ 2 antibiotics & pain meds. The Dr. drew a line around infection, told me to get sleep, fill prescription when I wake up, but come back to ER if infection spread beyond line; that would mean I need to be admitted to hospital.
I left ER 6 AM woke 11:30 AM & infection spread about 2 inches past line. So went back to ER.
The Dr. asked reason for coming. I told about previous night. Wasn't in a room, just a bed in hallway. She said she needed to see infection, (my groin area). Dr. gave no privacy; lowered my pants to show her.
Dr asked about meds taken. Said hadn't filled scrip cuz infection already spread past line when I awoke. Dr. said, "U didn't even fill ur prescription!? U need to take ur medication or u're going to end up in the hospital!" I said it was 6 AM when I left. The Dr. said it would be OK to go home & sleep first. Dr. shook head, said, "No u need to fill ur scrip."
Nurse came to flush IV & said, "So u just come in to get ur daily dose of medication huh?" I said no &explained.
Discharge nurse came to take IV out & said, "This is gonna hurt, but really there's no way around it." Pulled IV out in opp. direction of way it went in.
I said, "I'm having a hard time understanding y the Dr last night said to come back to ER if infection spread past line. So I did, because it had spread by the time I woke up, & this Dr is acting like the infection has spread because I haven't taken my medication."
She said, "Sounds like u're getting 2 different stories, but it's probably spreading cuz u don't take ur medication."
I had left work early Sun night to go to ER, then called in on Mon because I thought I'd be in the hospital. They said it was fine but to get a Dr.'s note. So I swallowed all the anger I was feeling & asked for Dr.'s note.
She said, "Dr.'s note for what?"
I said, "Missing work."
She said, "For tonight? I don't think we do that, but I'll ask."
My bed was in hallway, next to the nurses station, so I watched her walk up to Dr & heard her ask Dr. for a note for me.
I heard the Dr. say, "What! She wants a Dr.'s note for tonight!? Oh my God. So she's just lazy by not taking her meds & is just trying to get out of work!? Oh well, whatever, I don't care, OK, just give it to her."
I've never in my life felt more humiliated or dehumanized! I want to file a complaint or do something! But not sure where to go or who to do it through. Any advice? I'm just completely appalled that this is how people are treated in the hospital!

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Attorney answers 4


Filing a medical malpractice suit can be a lengthy and expensive. At times the cost of filing a suit outweighs the amount you may recover. Since most attorneys work on a contingency fee, the expense of the case may make it difficult to take on. It is important you talk to a local attorney in your state to find out if you have a potential case in your state. You can always write a complaint to the state medical board. I would consult an attorney before you decide what to do. Most attorneys will talk to you for free.

Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice. It is merely intended to provide general information to aid the poster in finding answers to the problem posed. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. In most cases, it is best to contact an attorney directly to find answers to your problems.


Medical malpractice requires a breach of the standard of care. Contact a medical malpractice lawyer in your city to discuss the facts and circumstances.

Click on the name of the lawyer answering your question to see their profile, and then you can click the view website tab to find out detailed information on your personal injury topic. The information provided on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.


It does not sound like you have a viable medical malpractice claim, however, I would suggest that you review the Legal Guide I have published on which deals with medical malpractice and what it is. If after reading that Guide you believe you have been the victim of malpractice, you should speak with a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible.

You appear to have been treated poorly by the hospital. Lack of privacy during the examination is unprofessional. I suggest you may want to address a complaint to the hospital's administrator, giving the name of the doctor who treated you in the hallway and/or you could file a complaint with your state's Medical Practic e Board or similar agency which regulates hospitals and doctors in your state.

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Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.


Medical malpractice cases are notoriously difficult and expensive. Rather than getting angry, though, how about merely writing a complaint to the hospital administration?

Good luck.

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