Monday, September 17, 2012

Acute Lawsuit Opportunity

Blergh.  People are soooo incredibly not subtle in regards to their ulterior motives when visiting the ER. Every now and then, sure, we get the creative drug seeker who fool us all, but usually people are just not subtle enough and blow their cover in triage by making requests that are way specific. 
The worst are the ones that are clearly trying to establish grounds for a lawsuit.  In adults, this usually manifests itself in the form of symptoms far out of proportion with the actual mechanism of injury, lots of talk about said mechanism of injury, and me having to explain what a contusion is upon discharge. (You've got a bruise, bro, go to the house).  Bonus points for asking for documentation of injuries and putting it on blast that your insurance won't be paying for this visit when the unsuspecting registration clerk comes to collect your information.   Nkay, whatever you say, dude!
It's a thousand times worse when people bring their kids in for this crap.  I'm talking Toddler and Tiaras style coaching.  "OH, honey, weren't you saying your back was hurting on the way over here?" "But sweetie, your pain is only that smiley face with the 2 underneath it? Are you sure it isn't the one that's crying? You were crying earlier!" At this point the parent usually goes totally rogue talking about all the injuries the child sustained and was complaining about at the time.  I always chart these exactly as they say, including the part where the parent said them and what the child is doing at the time.  For example, "Pt's mother states pt was crying and c/o lower back and neck pain at the scene.  Pt denies pain at this time, playing game boy at time of triage.  No pain or guarding noted upon palpation of pt's low back or neck."
We had one like this a couple of days ago that might have taken the cake.  Bonus points for this one when half the triage is spent talking about how something was spilled on the floor at the Wal-Mart and no one had mopped it up and they should have mopped it up.  Allegedly, the kid slipped in whatever slippery substance was spilled on the floor and fell to his knees for a minute. Mom was totally spazzing talking about how she was worried and wanted to get her baby checked out, etc. after the bad people at the Wal-Mart were so negligent as to let this happen, except, yeah.  The kid had not a mark on him.  I'm talking not a skinned knee, no bruising, no swelling, no redness.  He had at least three varieties of chips in his hand at the time of triage, and he rated his pain a 1 when prompted.  I sent them out to the waiting room, as absolutely nothing was wrong with him AT ALL and thirty minutes later mom's bum rushing the desk saying that her son's knees hurt and he needs pain medicine.  The kid is still chilling eating chips in the waiting room. 
WTF? Do these settlements really pay that well? Maybe I should slip on some shit at Wal-Mart so I don't have to keep dealing with this foolishness.


  1. "Maybe I should slip on some shit at Wal-Mart so I don't have to keep dealing with this foolishness."

    Depending on your Wal-Mart, y'all might actually be slipping *on* shit. I frequent a retail-employee-horror-story forums thread, and ye cats, some of the "finds" make the ER stories look kinda tame.

  2. I was at a checkout register at one of the big name discount stores. The clerk trips over her two feet, but doesn't fall. The first thing out of her mouth? "I should sue this damn place!" One guess as to her probable socioeconomic background/status.

  3. Would love to see what happens if your triage notes actually make it to court for one of these stupid-ass lawsuits!

  4. This kind of thing doesn't usually happen in Canada (as far as I hear anyways) - suing the big stores for BS things - but geeze it would suck if it did and I had to put up with the idiots who try to get something from someone fraudulently!

  5. My mom slipped and fell at a legitimately icy spot right outside the entrance of JCPenney and got the mother of all bruises on her hip/leg and didn't break anything, but it was pretty ouchie. She said someone rushed out there to help her up and gave her a packet of information and told her to tell the ER or wherever to bill JCPenney's for the fall (with packet indicating billing info).