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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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I went to the hospital because I overdosed on Advil. All I

Customer Question

I went to the hospital because I overdosed on Advil. All I wanted to know was if it was serious. They said no you will be fine but we have to keep you and I said but I want to leave, can I leave? The nurse told me I was not allowed to leave. I said that I was not trying to kill myself but they still kept me. After that they took my blood work, made me do an ekg, and a urine test, all after I asked if I could leave. I am 23 years old and I felt that I should have been able to leave but they said no. I do not think it's legal what they did and I don't understand why I have to pay a medical bill beyond just the initial visit.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

The answer I will provide you with is likely not going to be favorable, and I ask that you do not blame the proverbial messenger. I will do my best to explain but if you are unclear, please feel free to reply to my answer and I will try to help further.

If I may ask before I provide you with an answer, how long were you kept at the hospital? Was it overnight, a few hours, 3 days?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

They only kept me a few hours. After we had been there for almost 4 hours a nurse snuck into my room and said "Dont say it came from me but just walk out, they cant make you stay" and I said but they lady earlier told me that I had to. and she said "no that was a lie"

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your follow-up, Samantha.

Hmm, legally a hospital can make you stay on the premises. This is called an 'involuntary commitment' and if a medical doctor (not a nurse) makes a determination that you may be a danger to yourself (such as in cases of a failed suicide attempt) or a danger to others (doctor sees your behavior as psychotic and potentially violent to third parties), the doctor could hold you up to 72 hours depending on the state and potentially expose you to treatments and procedures that you would not consent to but would still have to pay for. Please notice I am simply providing examples, I am not stating you fit any of these criteria yourself.

Your situation is a bit different. The nurse could tell you to stay if a medical doctor so ruled and then subject you to the treatment. But she could not make that determination on your own. As a consequence contact the hospital and ask for your medical records--under HIPAA regulations they would require to give you the records when you request it within 30 days. Review the records to see if a doctor ever made such a determination. If not, then claim that the nurse engaged in 'false imprisonment' since she told you could not leave and you believed her, and committed 'medical battery' by exposing you to tests you otherwise did not consent to while you still had a right to contest. Discuss this directly with the hospital and state that unless they wish to turn it into a legal matter, they should go ahead and waive your fees.

On the other hand if a doctor did sign off, then the nurse's comments are valid and she could have exposed you to tests that you did not wish, and consequently make you financially responsible for those expenses. This is why reviewing your records is going to be key in finding out if the nurse acted properly or improperly toward you.

Hope that helps.