Legal Question in Medical Malpractice in Pennsylvania

refused a dr. appointment

I was told to see a cardiologist by my regular doctor. When I called to make an appointment, I was told May 1, 2002. On April 17 I did not feel well at all and called the cardiologist's office hoping they would see me that day. The ''phone nurse'' told me ''You are scheduled for May 1 with dr. _______ and there is no way I could be seen sooner. She suggested going to the emergency room if need be. I felt that the discomfort was not an emergency so I played along with the May 1 appointment. Earily the next morning (3:30) my wife rushed me to the hospital with severe chest pains. The doctor in the ER told me I had had a heart attack. Would I have any legal recourse because of the fact that the cardiolgist refused to see me the day before since I called for help?

Asked on 4/30/02, 10:27 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

Arthur Newmark Arthur Newmark, M.D.. Esq

Re: refused a dr. appointment

I would agree with both responses.

The nurse probably met the standard of care.

The proper instructions would be to tell someone

who believes they have a medical emergency to go

to an emergency room. While her instructions

have been stronger, I don't think a jury could be

convinced that she was liable.

If there is any liability it would be more likely

with the primary care doctor, depending on the

timing between the visit and the incident, and

what transpired at that visit.

Your local attorney would be best placed to sort

this out.

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Answered on 5/01/02, 10:49 am

Re: refused a dr. appointment

It is not a simple question, however, if you were advised to go to the E.R. you probably have no recourse

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Answered on 4/30/02, 10:39 am

Response to Inquiry about refusal to arrange appointment

4/30/02 12:40 PM

DEAR SIR: The information related to your inquiry of this morning indicates that it was generated in the Bethlehem area. If that is indeed accurate, I would strongly recommend that you contact the Lawyer Referral Service of the Northampton County Bar Association. You should find out if any attorney is willing to consult with you and explain your rights concerning establishing liability, causation, and damages so that you can determine whether you and your family wish to undertake a medical malpractice action. Our law firm, for example, just last week met [for nearly four hours] with a widow, son, and brother-in-law concerning a man in his 40's who told his "family practitioner" that he felt like "he had been hit by a Mack Truck." No cardiac examination or referral was made. A few days later he was dead of a massive heart attack.

Best wishes to you and your family in whatever you decide to do.


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Answered on 4/30/02, 12:42 pm

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