Can I sue doctor or hospital ?

Can I sue doctor or hospital for turning me away from 3 day hold while suicidal?

Last fall, upon the recommendation of my counselors, I admitted myself to a hospital in Pasadena while having intense suicidal feelings and paranoia delusions. Despite me reporting this to the hospital, the hospital's evaluating doctor refused to admit me because I refused to take meds due to my fear of meds. I thought I had the right to refuse meds and not be turned away. Within a week, I was hospitalized again with cut wrists. I called one of those TV lawyers and they declined to take the case saying there was no harm. No harm? Being hospitalized a week later with cut wrists is no harm? Also, I can't prove it but I feel like the doctor was prejudice against me for being homeless. Nonetheless, she denied me hospitalization.

Nathan’s Answer

Hospital may not take have taken you if they felt you were not an imminent threat to yourself. Otherwise, you may have been subject to involuntary commitment. I wonder if there was a partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient program available. Were you referred to anything like that? Sometimes the waiting times for mental health services can be frustrating.

The TV lawyer may have been falling back on 1st year law where we learn that without damages, there is no case. Even if you can show you were an imminent threat to yourself, and were wrongfully denied admission, you have to show your damages were directly and proximately caused by the denial of hospitalization the first go-round. The fact a week had gone by will likely be fatal to your case and it is difficult to say that you cutting your wrists is a direct result of the hospital refusing admission a week before since many things may have happened during that week.

I am sorry to hear you feel you were prejudiced. Even if you were not homeless, mental health issues unfortunately still carry with them a stigma that many people are trying to help society overcome.

The above is my opinion, not advice, so it may be prudent to call around and ask other attorneys what they think. I wish you the best of luck in your health.

If someone ever feels like committing suicide, a phone call may save a life:

1 (800) 273-8255

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week

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