Doctor Refused X-Rays for My Injured Leg...

by Anne
(Brooklyn, NY)

Stepping off the train my foot got caught in the gap between the platform and the train, and my leg got stuck at the shaft of the thighbone. I was pulled out and brought to the hospital by ambulance.

A doctor ordered x-rays to make sure my leg, as he said, "was not broken". The pain and swelling I had was in the shaft of the thighbone. I could not bend my leg beyond 45 degrees. Nothing felt wrong with my foot or hip and I wasn't too sure about my knee.

The doctor ordered an x-ray of my foot, knee and hip but none of the shaft of the thighbone. I insisted on an x-ray of the shaft but didn't get one. They kept me waiting for 6 hours and I had to insist on getting answers on what was wrong.

Since there is no x-ray of the shaft it's possible there are all sorts of things wrong including a fracture. A different doctor on duty told my leg was not broken based solely on the fact that I could stand briefly on the leg. She also said there was a muscle contusion.

Then I was given a paper I had to sign which gave as diagnoses "unspecified injury to the knee, ankle, leg and foot". I refused to sign.

I believe they know there is something wrong with the shaft and that's why they didn't take an x-ray, because that would be evidence. It would force them to treat the injury which they simply didn't want to do since I'm uninsured. I fell round 5:30pm yesterday and left the hospital at midnight.

Right now I have a mild fever and have to wait to get x-rays somewhere else until after the current severe hurricane we're having. What if it turns out the shaft is fractured or there is some other more serious problem that requires immediate treatment? Can they just get away with not treating me? I read the patient bill of rights and they simply were not met. What can I do about this?

Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Doctor Refused X-Rays for My Injured Leg... ":

Anne (Brooklyn, NY):

Before you take any action drive to your local hospital emergency room and report your injuries. If you don't trust the doctors at one hospital, then go to another. It's doubtful all the doctors are in some sort of collusion. You really don't have much of a claim unless your bone is actually fractured or unless the treating physicians misdiagnosed or failed to treat an injury more severe then they originally diagnosed.

There are those patients who present with symptoms which are in a doctor's opinion not symptomatic of the injury the patient presents. There are also those patients who some doctors believe are feigning a broken bone or other injury clearly in an attempt to build a personal injury claim.

It's possible the doctors sensed you might be attempting to build a personal injury claim, and knowing your statements about having a broken bone were no more than an attempt to involve them in your personal injury claim.

It really depends on the doctors and the patients.

Some doctors just don't believe patients. Whether out of bad experiences, or just plain experience some doctors can "smell" a personal injury claim a mile away. Unfortunately the doctors you saw may have sensed just that.

Hopefully your injuries won't include a broken bone and you'll be able to get back to your normal life. If the doctors misdiagnosed you, you can always consider a medical malpractice claim. Before you do though you'll need evidence of their malpractice.

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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