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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
Satisfied Customers: 12202
Experience:  Attorney with significant personal injury experience
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Would like to explain a possible medical malpractice against

Customer Question

Hello, would like to explain a possible medical malpractice against my employer
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Personal Injury Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome.
Medical malpractice claims are cases in which a patient alleges that their treating doctor was negligent in causing them to suffer an injury. It is not possible to assert a medical malpractice claim against ones employer unless the employer was also somehow the employee' personal doctor. Is this what you had in mind? If not can you explain, and can you also clarify what your specific question is?
I look forward to helping you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am a hospital employee that works in surgery and was exposed to apatient's bodily fluids. I immediately report incident after the case to my supervisor and she began my paperwork right away. She calls Post-Op/Recovery and orders one of the nurses to draw blood from the patient for testing (source). Meanwhile, i am sent to the Emergency Room to begin treatment (blood withdrawal, BP taken, and consultation with Nurse Practioner). While I wait in the Emergency Room. They get a call that the patient was discharged from recovery without any blood drawn to be tested. If im not mistaken thats a BIG MISTAKE. So here I am with the possibility of contracting HIV and HEPATITIS C, and the patient is released home with no blood drawn for tested. I was given Prophylactic HIV medication to begin treatment until they can get the patient back at the hospital for testing. The medication is strong and has been making feel sick and with headaches.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I, a hospital employee, was exposed to bodily fluids from a patient. The patient was dishacrged home before any blood was drawn for HIV testing and Hep C testing. who is liable?
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
I'm so sorry, that sounds like a frightening experience.
As far as your legal remedies are concerned, this is not a medical malpractice issue. As noted above, medical malpractice arises only when a medical provider is negligent in their care of a patient. The patient in that circumstance can file a medical malpractice claim.
Pursuant to something called the exclusive remedy doctrine, your sole recourse against your employer is to file a workers compensation claim. Basically, the legislature has created a compromise due to the large volume of lawsuits that would be filed by employees against their employers and the complicated issues of liability that would clog the court system if allowed to proceed. The compromise is that employees are prohibited from filing lawsuits against their employers except in cases of intentional acts committed by the employer resulting in harm. In all other instances, employees are limited to filing workers compensation claims, where they are limited to recovering their medical expenses and lost wages and restricted from recovering "pain and suffering" damages.
The benefit to the employee is that they are relieved of proving that their employer was negligent--negligence doesn't matter in workers comp because you don't need employer liability to have a claim. In exchange, though, the employee is precluded from collecting pain and suffering damages and is limited to recovering our of pocket losses.
So, your recourse here is to file a workers compensation claim. That will cover all of your medical treatment as well as any wage loss resulting from your medication side effects or from any psychological issues (i.e. PTSD or anxiety) you may develop as a result of this incident, and as well as any additional losses you may incur in the hopefully unlikely event that you actually contract a disease. You cannot, however, sue your employer on a medical malpractice theory or on any other legal theory. Workers compensation is your exclusive remedy under the exclusive remedy doctrine.
To get your workers compensation claim started, see here: http://www.myfloridacfo.com/division/wc/employee/reportaclaim.htm
I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.