Ask a Lawyer and Get Answers to Your Legal Questions
Hi, thank you for your question.
That really does sound like a terrible experience.
what really hurt was that my wife felt like she was being profiled
The specific example of incorrect information that you mentioned was the ER doctor quoting your wife's primary care physician (PCP). If I understand, you said that the ER doctor noted that the PCP said that your wife has a long-term substance abuse problem and has been taking narcotics for years. Is that correct?
we showed the PCP the medical records and she was very upset that he lied about what she said
Let's discuss that example. I understand that the assertion is incorrect, but how do we know that it is the fault of the ER doctor? How do we know, for example, that the PCP didn't make a mistake?
she showed my wife her notes
she';s been our doctor for several years
Does the ER doctor acknowledge that he wrote the wrong information into his notes?
the ER doctor was a contractor
no he refuses to change them - that would probably get him fired
I also spoke to my wife's pain management doctor and he agrees that the ER doc was wrong
my wife is gooing to bring the notes to show him at her next visit
the PCP agreed to write a letter saying she didn't say that
To be straightforward, that's what we call an evidence problem. Person A says she said one thing, and Person B says that Person A said something else. I understand that your PCP is more credible because of your existing relationship with her, but neither your physician nor the ER physician had any incentive to fabricate these things about your wife. There was a clearly a mistake made, but an objective third party wouldn't know who made the mistake without additional proof. How do we know that your wife's PCP didn't open the wrong file? How do we know she wasn't absent minded and confused your wife with a different patient?
she's very sharp -
If you are old enough to be married, you are probably old enough to know that people can remember something one way but it actually played out quite differently. I remember an event in court once where the judge banged her gavel in a burst of anger. I later testified under oath to that effect. I later learned that this particular judge doesn't use or even have a gavel... but that's exactly how I remember it still to this day.
i talked to the ER doctor while we were at the hosptial and eventually masked him to leave the room and told him he wasn't my wife's doctor any longer
why did I ask him top leave?
I understand why you believe your PCP, but you would need to find a way to demonstrate to someone else how they could know as well.
You said "why did I ask him top leave?" I apologize, but I don't understand the question.
when I asked him if he knew anything MS or fibromyalgia he didn't respond.
what he did do was continue to aggrevate my wife and ed him if he realized that getting an MS patient upset the way he was could be enough to cause an MS exacerbation
To be clear, you're the expert on the facts in your matter. I know the law, but I have just one piece of less than one half of a story in which I have no involvement. I'm just going to explain the law and answer your potential legal questions, and you can decide for yourself if or how to apply the information I give to you. I'm not saying that it can't be proven; I'm just identifying a legal issue that may or may not present itself in similar-type cases. Is that fair?
In other words, I promise that I'm not arguing with you :-)
So you feel that proving that the ER physician was the one who made a mistake is not a problem. You have considered the challenges and reach that conclusion. I accept your analysis for the purposes of this discussion. Moving on then to the next matter...
For there to be any legal recourse, there have to be foreseeable damages. You talked about it a little bit, but what damages did your wife suffer as a result of the ER doctor's conduct?
she was traumatized after being profiled by the ER
You also mentioned that her getting upset exacerbated her MS. What can you tell me about that?
it's the closest hospital for us and no we'll have to dambulance drive another 10-15 miles to another hospita
I'm not sure that I understand the connection between having to drive another 10-15 minutes and your wife's MS symptoms being exacerbated?
well it's a little hard to say whether or not that occurred. She did feel poorly for about a week after that visit and I did ing her to XXXXX XXXXX johnson ialist is about 60 miles away
RWJ is where her MS specialist is
the problem is that she won't go back to that ER because she doesn't wanye that same doctor ever again
Ok, so it sounds like there may be a possible connection between your wife's treatment and her MS symptoms, but there may be a lack of certainty there. And it's not something that would show up in a blood test, for example. Is that correct?
so We'll be forced to go to a hospitsl further away
i did do some research prior to using this service
does seem that the deck is stacked ward the medical side
In the course of your research, did you come across "intentional infliction of emotional distress" as a cause of action?
ne of the problems was that he didn't run a test on her thyroid that would have
yes I believe i saw that
but it seems like that would be hard to prove
look at it from outside you would have to wonder why the dr wrote his notes in such a defensive format
It's as hard to prove as the evidence. That's true of everything. With all of this, you're talking about pain--emotional and physical--but pain is invisible. I can tell you right now that my foot hurts and that I'm upset by this conversation. But there is no way to measure that or verify it. In a court setting, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff, so the question is always what a reasonable person could expect to experience in the same situation.
the dr was clearly upset by being challenged by both my wife and me.
To establish a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, a plaintiff must show that the defendant (1) intentionally or recklessly engaged in (2) extreme and outrageous conduct (3) that was the proximate cause of (4) plaintiff suffering emotional distress so severe that no reasonable person could be expected to endure it.
well i don't think this would even approach that
Again, I have to defer to you on the facts. We're like two puzzle pieces--I know the law, and you know the facts. If you believe that your circumstances wouldn't even approach that standard, I'll have to defer to you on that.
OK Brandon thanks for talking with me.
It's not against the law to be rude or to be a jerk. But if someone behaves recklessly or even just negligently, they are responsible for the foreseeable damages that they cause. I can't blame your wife for how she was treated, but the courts want proof before the weight of the law is used to penalize someone.
I'm giving you an excellent service