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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
Satisfied Customers: 18811
Experience:  Lawyer with personal injury practice experience.
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My brother, who has no medical insurance, was just admitted

Customer Question

My brother, who has no medical insurance, was just admitted to a hospital in Burien, WA because he was vomiting blood. He checked himself into the ER at around 10 AM. They checked him into a patient room where he continued to vomit and defecate blood. They kept him overnight and gave him and upper GI endoscopy procedure (small, minimally invasive, takes 10 minutes) the next morning where they found a tear in his esophagus and were able to cauterize the wound and stop the bleeding. Because of the blood he lost he had to receive a transfusion and 2 extra nights in the hospital which will of course all be added to his bill.
My question is about timing. I work in the medical field and it seems that having to wait 24 hours for the upper endo procedure if far too long in an emergency situation especially with the symptoms he had. Most hospitals have an on call GI endo team so that they can perform the procedure and diagnosis the problem very quickly. It seems that if the procedure was done in a reasonable time period it could have saved him the blood transfusion and extra nights at the hospital required because he would not have had internal bleeding for a full 24 hours while in hospital care after admittance to the ER.
Is there some sort of lawful statute that dictates expected turnover times for various procedures that we could reference to dispute the bill?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Personal Injury Law
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 11 months ago.

No, there is not a statute that dictates time frames for these things. State and federal legislators are not doctors and they move too slowly to keep up with the advances of medicine.

Instead, law uses the concept of "malpractice" to call into question the medical practices of those in the medical profession. Every possible case of malpractice isn't controlled by statutes though. Instead, we use concepts from "common law" which simply means that cases in court determine what is or is not malpractice. For you to be able to show that the 24 hour time frame was malpractice, you'd have to have some medical testimony from other professionals in the field who will state that this wait was a departure from the standard of care expected by other members of that field of practice.

You can certainly make that allegation yourself, without a medical expert opinion to that effect, and it is possible that the hospital will reduce the bill as a means of avoiding you filing a complaint against them. Of course, if they feel that 24 hours is within the "standard of care" they may not be willing to alter the bill and then you'd only have a claim here if you had medical experts that could testify that it was a deviation from the standard of care.

So, as you can see, it's rather complicated and there simply is not a statute that dictates the timing of every medical procedure.

Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 11 months ago.

Hello, I wanted to check in and make sure that there was not any additional information that you required.

If so, please use REPLY and ask me for any additional information you may need. If not, take care and have a great day.