I fell and twisted my leg. I heard 3 pops when it happened. It hurt BAD. This occurred at 11:30pm and I don't drive, so I waited until the next morning. By that time my knee had popped back into place but I could barely get up and down, or move my leg in any way.
I tried to get in to see my regular doctor and was told to go to the ER. I asked if I needed my doctor's permission for the hospital to do an MRI and my doctor's nurse said no. She told me the hospital would do that with out my doctor's permission.
I limped in to the ER (they were very empty that day) and the registration nurse took me straight back to a room in a wheel chair. The doctor followed right behind us. As I was trying to get to another chair the check-in nurse told the ER doctor that I had walked in on my own. I had, as bad as it hurt, and I knew it wasn't broken. I just needed to make sure nothing was torn.
The ER doctor sent me for an x-ray and made me turn my knee every which way, left, right and straight. He came back a few minutes later and said the bone was only bruised. This was a week ago. I saw my own doctor 3 days after the ER visit and he scheduled me for an MRI since I can't stand on it or keep it straight. The pain is constant and throbbing.
I'm very upset that the ER doctor didn't order my an MRI. I think since I had walked into the ER on my own and the nurse told the doctor, they thought I was stretching the pain factor and brushed me off. They didn't perform the proper medical tests to diagnose my injury. Can I sue them for medical malpractice?
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ANSWER for "ER Doctor Didn't Give Me an MRI...":
Melissa (Corbin, KY):
You certainly can file a lawsuit against the hospital and the emergency room doctor. Unfortunately if you do your case will probably be dismissed by means of a Summary Judgment Motion filed by the same attorneys.
You have no proof of malpractice. To have the basis of a malpractice suit you must be able to show there was a substantial deviation from normal medical practices and that such deviation resulted in harm. From the facts you present the subsequent MRI didn't disclose any damage to your knee or any other part of your body.
Doctors can have varying opinions about the forms of treatment they require for their patients. Apparently the emergency room doctor didn't feel an MRI was necessary. The doctor ordered a set of x-rays. Either the x-rays indicated some bruising to your bone or the doctor's examination did. Apparently the x-rays and the doctor's examination didn't indicate any other damage.
If you decide to file a lawsuit not only will the attorneys for the doctor and hospital probably file a Motion for Summary Judgment, but they may counter-sue you for filing a frivolous lawsuit. If that occurs and the court agrees you may be subject to having to pay their attorneys' fees, court costs and any possibly a fine.
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.
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