Thursday, November 13, 2008

Why Sue?

Why do people sue their trusted doctor or hospital? Sometimes it’s because they just have no choice. It becomes a battle of the fittest when a corporation has the right to not answer questions, not meet with a patient or not even address the death or unplanned outcome of care.

A recent call to a major health facility left me wanting to tell the patient “get a lawyer”. But that was not what the patient wanted. My goal is to learn what the patient’s needs are. Not what mine are.

The patient was willing to meet with an administrator at this hospital to learn what happened during her surgery that seemed to concern other doctors enough that they would each tell her to go back to the original physician that did the surgery.

“No one will treat me” she said. Plus the painful symptoms following her surgery made me realize that maybe something did go wrong. I can only encourage her to seek medical attention of which she has tried. They did not tell her she was imagining things but instead, she told me that 2 different doctors told her there were problems that needed to be addressed by the original physician.

The original physician would not see her. Do I need the details? Absolutely not. But, when I called the hospital and spoke to a colleague, she thought a lawyer there may be the best choice. Unfortunetly, the lawyer probed me with questions of which I did not have the answer. I was just trying to make the contact for this woman who was scared and alone so she could make one call and have some questions answered.

Instead, the lawyer left me with the task to get more information. By the time I hung up the phone, I wanted to call the patient and suggest she needs a lawyer. Instead I called her and explained that they want more information before they meet or even speak with her. I think she got a lawyer.

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