ER nurse refused tests for asthma attack...

by Erica
(Sierra Vista, AZ)

One morning I woke up and was struggling with my breathing. I have asthma so I used my inhaler. It didn't get any better so I used the nebulizer, but it just got worse. I couldn't get in to see my usual doctor so I went to the emergency room. At the ER I was crying out for air and kept gasping, so they took me right back to triage. They took my vitals and my oxygen intake wasn't too low.

With asthma it isn't just the oxygen you take in though, it is also what you put out. I told the nurse this was an asthma attack. She refused to listen and said it was just anxiety. I told her I have had anxiety before so I knew the difference. She sent me into an ER bed and told my nurse it was just anxiety.

For two hours I cried and gasped for air while my mom pleaded with them to help me. The reason we waited so long was so they could order me xanax and ativan (anti-anxiety meds). So they gave me the medicine and sent me on my way, still struggling to breath. No lab tests were done or chest x-rays taken.

I went home and continued using my nebulizer but I just wasn't getting better. My doctor still had no appointments. My mom made the decision to take me to a hospital an hour away because I was getting worse and blue. This hospital knew right away that I was having an asthma attack and that there was something underlying to trigger it. They gave me prednisone to open my lungs up and gave me breathing treatments. Then they took a CT scan of my lungs and found I had pneumonia.

They got me on the road to recovery medically. The sad thing is that not being able to breath and that smothering feeling has now caused me a really bad panic disorder. Anything that makes me feel like I can't breath scares me.

I'm wondering if I should seek a lawyer to file a lawsuit against the first hospital for refusing to listen to me and neglecting to do proper tests? If my mother wasn't there to take me to the other hospital I could have been injured MUCH worse. Is there anything I can do? Thank you.

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ANSWER for "ER nurse refused tests for asthma attack...":

Erica (Sierra Vista, AZ):

Fortunately you are now out of danger. There's never anything wrong with seeking the advice and counsel of one or more personal injury attorneys. Most will not charge any fee for an initial office consultation. Unfortunately, they will probably tell you any claim against the hospital will result in a minor, if any, settlement amount.

You haven't suffered any documented injuries. Unless you can find a psychiatrist or psychologist who will examine you and diagnose your new panic disorder as permanent, or at least long-lasting, and that such disorder is directly attributable to the hospital's refusing to make a proper diagnosis, your claim will be very difficult to prove.

Get copies of your hospital records. If you are going to pursue a claim you must first have copies of your hospital admitting and treatment chart, as well as your discharge order.

If you seek an attorney's advice he or she will want to see those records. If you do want to pursue your claim and don't want to seek the advice and counsel of an attorney, then you must have the diagnosis of a psychiatrist or psychologist. Without one linking your treatment, or lack of it, to your new condition you probably will have to move on and live to fight another day.

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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Follow up...
by: Eica

Thanks. The sad thing is I'm having to sign into a rehab center because the medication Xanax is super addictive. When I try tapering down I have seizures.

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