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TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience:  Lead Personal Injury Trial Lawyer
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I recently called 911 because I was very sick and fell on the

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I recently called 911 because I was very sick and fell on the floor and didn't have the strength to pick myself up off the floor. When the ambulance crew came they told me that it was going to be a wasted trip because I was dehydrated. After they set me up on the couch they had me sign a refusal to deny the trip. However, my mom was the one that made me get dressed to go to the hospital. Still unable to pick myself up and having to walk with assistance, my aunt took me to the hospital. I was then given 6 surgeries. My question is what type of lawyer should I be looking for and do I have a solid case against the city's fire department for not wanting to take me to the hospital and only saying that I was dehydrated when I obviously wasn't? I also have 2 witnesses that can verify what the ambulance crew that came to the house said.

Thank you for your question and I'm very sorry to hear about this situation.

Do you believe that the fact that the ambulance drivers did not take you to the hospital caused you any injury or was the reason that you ended up having surgery?

If they would have taken you to the hospital immediately, would it have changed anything in regard to the outcome of your medical situation?

I look forward to hearing back from you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

One of the ambulance driver's was busy looking at all the dvd's that my aunt has in the living room while the other was was talking to me and was complaining about having a hernia. When they assisted me onto the couch the main guy said that I was just dehydrated. He said that if he would take me to the hospital the doctor is only going to tell me that I am dehydrated and that I need to sip water. That was why I decided not to go to the hospital at that moment. After they left my mom was the one that said that I was going to go to the hospital any ways. So she had my aunt take me to the hospital. They scanned me and everything and I had to be be sent to another hospital ASAP because that one hospital didn't have room for me in ICU. If I had listened to the ambulance crew and just stayed home then who knows how much worse my condition would of became. Because of this incident I lost my job, I don't have insurance to cover the bills. I am currently unemployed at this moment and hoping that I can get back on with my old job. I have an ileostomy bag and have to go back in Sept. to have it reversed. I mean I have been through a lot. I am really trying to have the fire dept or the city pay for my medical bills and pain and suffering I strongly believe.

I'm sorry. I do not think you have a case. I'm going to opt out free of charge to allow another expert to give their opinion on this matter.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Ok. Is it possible for you to tell me why you think that I do not have case? I think that if the ambulance would have taken me the conditions would have changed because I would of been treated sooner. My intestines were dying. I had kidney failure. I wouldn't have been on dialysis.

You went to the hospital on the very same day, correct?

How much time do you believe was the difference between when you would have received treatment after arriving with an ambulance and when you actually received treatment?

Also, you could have demanded that they take you to the hospital, right?

Finally, do you have any medical evidence which shows that this delay resulted in a worsening of your condition, or is this only based on your opinion?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I did indeed go to the hospital the same day. But as time was going by my condition was getting worse. If the ambulance would of taken me instead of having my mom and my aunt drag me to the hospital I would have to say that the amount of time difference was 2 hours. The EMS crew really didn't want to take me to the hospital because he was trying to convince me that I was only dehydrated. They said that they would of had to call in another crew to help lift me (because I was 315lbs at the time). The guy with the hernia really didn't want to have to do that and he said that himself. The medical evidence shows that if I was brought in sooner to be treated that I would not have needed 6 surgeries, kidney failure, I wouldn't have been placed on dialysis, or have to stay in the hospital for 2 months.

Well. Let's start with some of the basics.

You are wanting to hold an emergency medical technicXXXXX XXXXXable for an improper emergency diagnosis. You signed a waiver to not have them take you to the hospital in the ambulance based on your belief that their diagnosis was probably correct.

However, an emergency medical technician is not a doctor and cannot be held liable for medical malpractice in the same way that a doctor can who misdiagnosis you.

The law in Texas provides the following:

Sec. 74.151. LIABILITY FOR EMERGENCY CARE. (a) A person who in good faith administers emergency care is not liable in civil damages for an act performed during the emergency unless the act is wilfully or wantonly negligent, including a person who:
(1) administers emergency care using an automated external defibrillator; or
(2) administers emergency care as a volunteer who is a first responder as the term is defined under Section 421.095, Government Code.
(b) This section does not apply to care administered:
(1) for or in expectation of remuneration, provided that being legally entitled to receive remuneration for the emergency care rendered shall not determine whether or not the care was administered for or in anticipation of remuneration; or
(2) by a person who was at the scene of the emergency because he or a person he represents as an agent was soliciting business or seeking to perform a service for remuneration.
(c), (d) Deleted by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 204, Sec. 10.01.
(e) This section does not apply to a person whose negligent act or omission was a producing cause of the emergency for which care is being administered.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 960, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 30, 1993; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 679, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Renumbered from Sec. 74.001 and amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 204, Sec. 10.01, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.
Amended by:
Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 705, Sec. 1, eff. June 15, 2007.

Sec. 74.152. UNLICENSED MEDICAL PERSONNEL. Persons not licensed or certified in the healing arts who in good faith administer emergency care as emergency medical service personnel are not liable in civil damages for an act performed in administering the care unless the act is wilfully or wantonly negligent. This section applies without regard to whether the care is provided for or in expectation of remuneration.

So the first question in your case would be whether the EMT's actions were willfully or wantonly negligent. They did not refuse to take you, they simply recommended that you not go. So, this likely does not rise to the level of willful or wanton negligence (i.e., gross negligence).

Second, assuming you get over the above-stated liability hurdle, you then have to show causation. You say the medical evidence shows that had you caught the condition sooner you would have had a different result. Nevertheless, you will have to have a solid medical opinion supported by medical expert testimony which states but for the fact that you were not taken to the hospital 2 hours sooner, you would not have to have the surgeries. I make no judgments here because I'm not a doctor and I have no idea what your medical records state, or what the medical evidence you are referring to actually shows. However, I can imagine that there is going to be a doctor on the other side who can disagree with you on this, and a 2 hour gap would make me worry about the strength of your claim if I was your lawyer.

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