Some patients are more forthcoming than others when it comes to acknowledging pain, or how long a given symptom has been present. You should know, though, that there’s precedent for an urgent care provider being held liable for taking that at face value in a malpractice case. Just this week an urgent care center in Idaho was hit with a multimillion dollar judgment after being sued by a patient who had injured his back while moving freight at his workplace. He declined a trip to the emergency room on the grounds that his pain was minor. He eventually went to the urgent care center, where he continued to sit, stand, and walk relatively naturally. His stoicism masked a herniated disc that devolved into a spinal cord disruption that left him confined to a wheelchair, possibly for life. The patient and his family sued the urgent care center on the grounds that the staff failed to diagnose his injury correctly, and actually made his situation worse by instructing him to make certains movements in the course of examining him. The jury agreed, and awarded damages to cover past and future medical expenses. The urgent care operator plans to appeal the decision.
Your Patient Said His Pain Was ‘Not That Bad.’ You May Be Liable if He Was Just Being Stoic