Boy injured at Field Day, but no school nurse on duty?

by Robin
(Franklin, NH)

My son ran into a soccer goal post at school on field day and cut himself. There was no nurse at school that day so the office called me and told me to come pick him up and take him to the ER because he probably needed stitches.

Obviously, the school was not negligent in the sense of not doing everything possible to avoid injury, as my son was not hurt due to a wet floor, or ice, or anything like that. However, they did not have a nurse on duty on field day, a day in which the chances of injury are heightened.

I did take my son to the ER, as they suggested. We waited 4 hours, and he ended up getting a little glue (didn't need stitches) and no tests done or anything. I now have a $1900 ER room bill in front of me.

Had the nurse been there, she would have assessed my son, and likely determined that he did not need stitches or an ER visit. She may have called me and told me to come pick him up to take him home to rest for the remainder of the day, maybe told me warning signs to look for in a concussion, and to take him to the doctor.

Could I get the school to pay the ER bill based on this? Is the school in any way negligent for not having a nurse present on field day? Is there anything else I can do to get the ER bill covered? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Boy injured at Field Day, but no school nurse on duty?":

Robin (Franklin, NH):

This is one of those scenarios where you're darned if you do, darned if you don't. If the school nurse had assessed your son's injury and determined your son did not need stitches or glue, you would very likely have been upset if you arrived at the school to find your son bleeding, or in pain. Worse, that he may have suffered head trauma.

If a nurse was on duty, he or she would likely have recommended you take your son to the ER anyway, regardless of the need for stitches, since he suffered head trauma. Some people suffer severe head trauma without requiring any stitches.

When you took your son to the emergency room he needed glue to hold the skin together. It appears you would have preferred the nurse call you to pick your son up to take him home "to rest" for the remainder of the day, telling you to look for warnings of a concussion and to take him to the doctor. This would have opened the nurse and school to liability for not recommending you take your son to the ER for evaluation of his head trauma.

The office acted appropriately. In an abundance of caution they contacted you and told you to take your son to the hospital emergency room for evaluation. The school is not liable for the injury and they are certainly not responsible for your medical bills.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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