1. Free Legal Help, Legal Forms and Lawyers. TheLaw.com has been providing free legal assistance online since 1995. Our most popular destinations for legal help are below. It only takes a minute to join our legal community!

    Dismiss Notice

Needle stick reported at work, treatment neglected until 4 hours later.

Discussion in 'Accidents, Injuries, Negligence' started by LegalAdvicePlease, Oct 14, 2017.

  1. LegalAdvicePlease

    LegalAdvicePlease Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Jurisdiction:
    Louisiana
    Hello and thank you in advance for any advice.

    My wife was involved with a needle stick at the hospital she works at. She reported it to her supervisor immediately. The supervisor stated to go see a nurse. The nurse asked "What did your supervisor say? My wife replied "To go see a nurse and that she will report it after I finish my work."

    Nothing happened from there, my wife continued to work as she was instructed to do so and no treatment was administered.

    The inital report to the supervisor was at 8:30pm and at 12:20am when my wife finished her work, she went back to her supervisor so that they can file the report. It was only then that she was directed to go to the ER to have blood work drawn and to receive treatment.

    I feel as if this is some sort of grounds for a lawsuit as the administration and health providers neglected to give her immediate treatment once the stick was reported. But, I am not a legal scholar, so this is I am here to ask for advice.
     
  2. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

    Messages:
    11,478
    Likes Received:
    2,026
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Nope.
    The difference in a few hours likely made no difference.
    If you can find proof otherwise and show she suffered some injury as a result of the delay then there might be something to work with.
     
  3. LegalAdvicePlease

    LegalAdvicePlease Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Thank you for your time to respond!

    So unless I can find evidence that she should have had treatment/blood work drawn immediately after injury, the supervisor not directing my wife to get treatment immediately is not a sign of neglect?

    Am I understanding you correctly?
     
  4. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

    Messages:
    8,848
    Likes Received:
    2,059
    Trophy Points:
    113

    No, you are not understanding him quite correctly. There's even more to it than that.

    YOU have no dog in this hunt at all. YOUR WIFE will have to show not just INJURY, but injury that is DIRECTLY and PROVABLY tied to the delay, before she will have any legal recourse.

    She could find six thousand sources all saying that her supervisor should have told her to get treatment immediately, and if she has no damages that can be shown to be directly related to the four hour delay, they will all be for naught.
     
  5. LegalAdvicePlease

    LegalAdvicePlease Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Thank you so much for your time!

    It's kind of shame that my wife would have to suffer damages in order for some sort of action to take place.

    I realize that "what if's" do not belong in legal action, but it is just my thought that what if it had been at the beginning of her shift or what if the patient actually had some sort of disease/drug within their system that requires medical attention immediately to the victim that suffered the needle prick.

    I realize now that this matter has to be addressed further with the administration and not with the justice system.

    Thank you everyone again for your time and assistance on this matter. It's very kind of you to offer this!
     
  6. Highwayman

    Highwayman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,859
    Likes Received:
    600
    Trophy Points:
    113
    If the delay was a violation of some work rule then she should speak to her HR department.

    Maybe a complaint to the state health department would be warranted also.
     
    hrforme likes this.
  7. LegalAdvicePlease

    LegalAdvicePlease Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Thank you so much for your time and advice!
     
  8. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,717
    Likes Received:
    1,748
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Well...which is it?

    Treatment for what? You didn't provide details of the needle stick, and those details probably matter. I assume she was at least bandaged and didn't keep bleeding. You also told us that her blood was drawn. You didn't indicate if the results of the blood draw have come back and, if so, what they indicated.

    So...whom do you or does your wife want to sue, and what are her damages?

    Whether someone is or isn't negligent depends on all of the relevant facts. For example, consider the following scenarios (both of which could be described as a "needle stick"): (1) While preparing to draw blood from a patient, Bob, a phlebotomist accidentally stuck himself with the needle that he was going to use to draw the blood; (2) Susan, a billing clerk was in a patient's room discussing a billing issue with a patient's spouse while a nurse, was administering a morphine injection to a patient. After making the injection, the patient became violent and grabbed the syringe and stuck it into Susan's thigh.

    I hope it's obvious that those two situations would be handled very differently. Unfortunately, you haven't told us anything about what happened to your wife, we're in no position to assess how her supervisors handled the situation. You also haven't told us that your wife suffered any damages at all (other than whatever pain might have been associated from the needle stick itself). Even if someone was negligent, unless she suffered damages as a result, there's no basis for a lawsuit. Moreover, unless the needle stick resulted from someone's negligence, any damages resulting from the needle stick wouldn't be actionable. Only if any delay in providing your wife with treatment resulted in damages or increased damages would a lawsuit be viable. As far as drawing blood (which I assume was done to determine if the needle stick resulted in any infection to your wife), I can't imagine what difference a few hours would make.

    What "action" do you want to have happen? Your wife presumably knows the policies applicable to the situation. If she believes there was a breach of policy, she can report that to the appropriate person or department at the hospital. Alternatively, if she thinks things should have been handled differently, she can discuss that with her supervisor or others.
     
  9. ElleMD

    ElleMD Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,030
    Likes Received:
    496
    Trophy Points:
    83
    A "delay" of 4 hours is nothing. Not all needle sticks take place in a medical facility and it is far from uncommon for the wait in an urgent care center, doctor's office, or ER to be in excess of 4 hours, even if the patient reported for treatment immediately upon being stuck. I don't know what medical training your wife has, but presumably she relayed all relevant facts to the nurse and the nurse had no reason to deem this an urgent matter. Also, if this was a bloodborne pathogen exposure, there is a protocol that must be followed. Your wife should have received training on this if she is working in an environment where needle sticks ( or other BBPEs) are likely. Part of that protocol, is to determine if the source has a BBP. Basically, if she was stuck by a needle contaminated with Patient X's blood, protocol would be to determine certain factors about X first. That can take time. It can also change treatment recommendations considerably.

    If she was exposed to something other than a body fluid, it makes a world of difference what that something was and how much was injected. "Needle stick" can cover everything from grazing a finger on the tip of an empty needle to an entire syringe being emptied into her. It is really unclear why you think this was a drop everything and rush her to the ER scenario. If your wife had reason to believe it was dire, it is unclear what she communicated and to whom and what their response was. Presumably she was fine with waiting until the end of her shift, so I am confused why you are not.
     

Share This Page