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legalgems, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 7114
Experience:  Just Answer consultant at Self employed
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About a month ago my husband dialed 911, we had been at

Customer Question

Hi, about a month ago my husband dialed 911, we had been at 2 fundraisers that night, we were both drinking and when we got home I was drifting in and out of consciousness. He was worried and thought that I might have had something slipped in my drink. At the ER they started an IV and took blood for testing, pretty routine. Apparently they tried to wake me to get a urine sample but they couldn't get me awake long enough. They asked my husband to step out of the room and proceeded to undress me and attempt to catheterize me. I have no recollection of being at the hospital, I do not remember any of this at all. My husband told me that while he was standing outside of the curtain, he heard a commotion and me screaming so he came in to find me jumping up on the gurney, ripping out my IV and swinging at the nurses while I was screaming and crying "how would you like it if somebody started touching your vagina if you had been raped by your stepfather while you were sleeping?" According to my husband, the doctor ran in and tackled/threw me down and ordered 5 doses of whatever they use to sedate patients. My husband said the doctor was very rough with me and very mean, screaming at me the entire time (I had a chipped tooth, bruises all over my arms and lost full range of motion in my shoulder that lasted 2 weeks.) The police were called, the doctor insisted that they arrest me. Since I was, at that point, heavily sedated, the officer wrote an appearance ticket and gave it to my husband. The officers on the scene (2 female, 1 male) stated that they didn't want to arrest me but the doctor was furious and insisted. I was unconscious for 27 hours and woke up the next day in a psych ward. I was released hours after I woke up after talking to my husband and explaining to the doctors on staff what happened. I appeared before a judge 1 week later for an arraignment, the judge of course only saw a report stating that I, the defendant, was intoxicated and hit one nurse, kicked one nurse and another was elbowed. She ordered me to go for an alcohol treatment assessment which consisted of several appointments before I returned to court for my hearing. She also placed orders of protection against me for all three nurses which state that I am not allowed at their place of employment (which happens to be our local hospital). The nurses did not suffer any major injuries and all returned to work immediately after the incident. I, however, suffered a severe emotional reaction to the trauma. I was filled with overwhelming feelings of guilt and shame. On top of the court mandated appointments I had to return to mental health therapy. Both my primary doctor and my counselor agreed that I should start seeing a psychiatrist to begin trauma therapy. I was emotionally unable to work or even take care of the house and children for days after the incident. Before the hearing, my attorney (the public defender) had already spoken with the judge and the DA privately in chambers, he said they both seemed sympathetic to this unique situation and had hoped that the judge would wither dismiss the charges or at least reduce them from criminal charges. At the hearing, all three nurses showed up to pursue criminal charges. The DA asked the judge to delay the hearing so he could have time to talk to the nurses to basically ask them to agree to drop the criminal charges. I have to go again before the judge in 3 weeks. I'm wondering if my rights as a patient were violated? Did they have the right to undress me and and attempt to catheterize me without my or my husbands consent? Should they have asked for a medical history or a trauma history? I'm having a hard time with this, I understand that it's never okay to physically hit someone, but I never made a conscious decision to do that. I was sexually abused as a child for over a year, the physical abuse happened while I was asleep, I woke up to it happening. It seems to me that my body was reacting to that trauma. The nurses and the doctor were made aware of that. I never even received discharge papers or any medical treatment to explain why I may have been there in the first place. I looked up my hospital report online, they simply wrote "female, intoxicated, possible overdose". They then sedated me and shipped me off to a mental hospital. I'm being charged with 5 counts of harassment and 1 count of assault. Does this seem right/fair/just?
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  legalgems replied 5 months ago.
I am very sorry to hear this; that must have been very disturbing.The medical care industry is regulated, and complaints may be filed here:New York State Department of HealthCentralized Hospital Intake ProgramMailstop: CA/DCSEmpire State PlazaAlbany, NY 12237 Medical providers are allowed to, in an emergency setting, administer health care in accordance with standard medical practice, so long as it is medically necessary. Unfortunately (and despite movements to the contrary) the courts will typically find that one impliedly consents to catheterization procedures. However, if other medical providers (ie expert witnesses) would agree it was unnecessary, that can give rise to a medical malpractice suit. Additionally, if the medical staff used unnecessary force, then they can be liable for the injuries sustained; normally a hospital has access to sedation medication that they will use if necessary (imminent threat to medical staff) precisely to avoid unnecessary physical injuries. As to obtaining a medical history prior to admittance, it depends on the exact situation as the court will hold a medical provider to a "reasonable" standard of competence. So if the medical provider (and the evidence) indicates prompt medical attention was necessary to prevent alcohol poisoning or other complications, then a malpractice lawsuit would not be successful. If it was deemed unreasonable (the situation did not warrant the medical treatment- or the degree of invasiveness) then the plaintiff would typically prevail, which opens the door for economic damages (ie compensation for physical injuries), plus pain and suffering (emotional trauma) and punitives if the court determines the provider acted with wanton disregard or malice (punitives are designed to punish the defendant). A local personal injury/medical malpractice attorney will have many expert witness contacts, so they would want to get the medical record and have the witness review the case to see if the providers acted unreasonably. If so they typically take the case on a contingency fee basis versus hourly. Further questions? Please post here to continue the chat. Satisfied? Kindly rate positively so I receive credit for assisting you.(no additional charges are incurred). Information provided is for educational purposes only. Consultation with a personal attorney is always recommended so your particular facts may be considered. Thank you and take care.
Expert:  legalgems replied 5 months ago.
Checking in while the question is still open to see how things worked outHave a great day!