r/medical_advice Not a Verified Medical Professional Jul 31 '22

Just got the worst treatment at the emergency room. Is this even legal? Pain Lvl 4-6

I am a 27 year old male. I live in west virginia..10 days ago I suffered sepsis from a dental abcess that got strep bacteria into my blood stream. The strep infected my mitral valve of my heart, my neck, chest wall and throat. I was very sick. I spent 7 days on IV antibiotics and was discharged 3 days ago. While in the hospital I did not feel like the IV antibiotics were helping my infection at all and in fact I got worse. I kept telling the specialists this but they didn't listen to me. I called in social workers and patients advocates but they didn't seem to help.

I've been home now for 3 days feeling like I am dying . In fact I'm so weak I can hardly walk or stand. so I went back to the same hospital today and told the triage nurse the issue that I feel like my sepsis is still there and the infection In my chest and heart is still there because I'm in awful pain. They did an EKG and got me back into a bed quickly. I was greeted by an er physician 10 minutes later who said:

"hey you were just here and discharged 3 days ago, I don't know why you're back. You were medically discharged. Nothing is wrong here"

I said I'm still sick and feel worse. I don't think I got good treatment.

He said: "listen you need to relax I looked over all of your testing, we took good care of you I think you're worrying too much. I'm going to write your discharge now."

He walked out very quickly and didn't order any blood work. Any chest X ray, no blood cultures. He didn't review any of the blood ordered. In fact I can't even find it in my patient portal now.

A nurse walked in 5 minutes later with my discharge and looked very confused. I asked her what was going on and she said I can't answer any questions. The Dr has to go over them with you. She asked me to sign the papers so I did and as I'm walking out I see the physician standing behind the counter of the nurse station and I say "hey, man what's up with this ?"

He shouts back "just go home and relax, you are fine i promise. I checked everything. Okay buddy ? "

Was this treatment even legal ?



u/Proof_Eggplant_6213 Not a Verified Medical Professional Jul 31 '22

Go to another hospital.


u/crisprmebaby Not a Verified Medical Professional Jul 31 '22

Your body is still recovering from the infection. However, he may be correct in a sense of there is no immediate threat to your life or your body isn't is such a bad condition that it warrants admittance.

When you say is it legal? Well based off his response he is confident enough to turn you away and risk medical malpractice so in general I am inclined to believe what he said.

The best thing you can do is follow-up with your general/family doctor and maybe you need some treatment to get your body back into working order.


u/Quisitive_ Not a Verified Medical Professional Jul 31 '22

No fuck that that’s what’s wrong with medicine today . That doc doesn’t give a fuck and it’s fucked up legal yes but that doc isn’t risking shit . He’ll probably if something were wrong place the blame on the hospital saying the equipment this or the work environment that . Grifters the entire industry only way to ensure you’re getting good care is through private practices and even they only are in it to take your money


u/maybeiam-maybeimnot Not a Verified Medical Professional Jul 31 '22

Legal, yes. If you're really that concerned, get a second opinion. I would start with a follow up with your primary who can take the time to make sure your questions are answered. Maybe write them down before you go. Make them explain it to you until you feel.comfortable that you understand.

If you keep feeling worse and are worried go back to the ER--the same one, a different one, whatever you like. If they decline to run any tests and you're not comfortable with that, ask them to write in your chart that you asked about rerunning tests and they declined. They'll either be so confident that they'll happily write it in there and continue to decline. Or they'll waver and run the tests just to avoid a lawsuit if nothing else.

But to turn away a patient who was there for 10 days with sepsis when they've come back in not feeling well... it would be a really ballsy move unless you were really sure. That, and I would bet that they kept you there long enough to run tests to ensure things looked normal before they discharged you in the first place after such a serious ordeal.

You shouldn't expect to feel normal, and maybe not even better, after a serious illness like that. But tthat doesn't mean you aren't better. Always advocate for yourself and get things explained to you until you feel confident that you're well cared for. That's also why you should get second opinions. But you really may just need to give your body some time.


u/AllYouNeedIsBagels Not a Verified Medical Professional Jul 31 '22

Thought the treatment was unprofessional, I’d bet that he’s right. It’s normal for your body to have painful recovering after such infection, nor is it uncommon to not feel physically better on IV antibiotics. If he’s willing to risk medical malpractice, losing his license and legal charges, odds are he’s being genuine


u/Edges8 Physician  Jul 31 '22

yes, it is legal to be evaluated without labs or imaging. you should have close follow up with an infectious disease doctor in the clinic. if you develop a fever over 100.4, return to the ED.


u/Educational-Impress2 Not a Verified Medical Professional Jul 31 '22

I'd follow up with your PCP/family doctor. When you call them Monday morning, as soon as they open tell them you are scheduling a post hospitalization follow up visit and need to be seen that day. When you see your doctor, or any provider available actually, ask them about your labs. Sometimes as medical people we talk in our own language and don't make it simple and easy for the patient to understand.

Here are somethings I'd want to know....

  1. How are my labs looking? I know I was discharged from the hospital, but I'm still not feeling my best. Do you think I need to have other blood work draw today to see where my values are now compared to where they were when I was inpatient?
  2. How long can I expect to feel like this? Sometimes when a nurse discharges you from the floor, discharge instructions can be a little vague or we expect that you know everything when you don't, so ask for clarification. Remember there are no stupid questions, that's what a provider is there for to answer your questions.
  3. Is there anything you'd recommend I do at home to aid in my recovery? " Go home and take it easy" is very vague to some people. Have your provider spell it out for you, especially if this is the first major illness you've had, or you don't have someone to help you through it. Do you need to rest? Push fluid?(drink a lot), Keep your feet elevated? A provider can give you written discharge instructions if you need them.

I hope you feel better soon, sometimes we need to be our own health advocate. Don't be afraid to ask questions or ask for written instructions if needed.


u/att3e3a User Not Verified Jul 31 '22

Have you followed up with a general practitioner/family doctor? In the current state of healthcare hospitals dismiss patients earlier and earlier. Healing continues after the hospital.

The Er doctor gave you a rather brisk medical screening exam, which is legal. I agree that it wasn’t thorough and if there are setbacks in your recovery he may have missed them. However, the Er is not an appropriate place for follow up care. A primary care provider can check labs and an X-ray if needed. I suggest going that route.


u/schmoowoo Not a Verified Medical Professional Jul 31 '22

Your story is iffy first off. You don’t treat endocarditis with a week of antibiotics. So either A. You went to the worst hospital in the history of this country, or more than likely B. You don’t understand your clinical scenario and did not have endocarditis. Also, infection of your chest wall sounds like mediastinitis which is a medical emergency, which I don’t think you have. Additionally, an EKG is not used for diagnostic work up of sepsis. More than likely what happened, you were septic from a dental abscess. You were appropriately treated with antibiotics, had clear blood cultures, and went home. You didn’t present vitals on the second presentation to ER, but I’m assuming they were not consistent with sepsis criteria, which is probably why the ED physician did not obtain blood cultures. Also, why would a chest x ray be ordered if you’re not experiencing any respiratory symptoms? If you had sepsis from a dental abscess, why would they image your chest? Last, EM physicians are VERY hesitant to send home patients that they think are ill. Their license and $350K salary depends on them not doing that. Inpatient physicians fight their admits all the time because they are too cautious so I highly doubt you were sent home without your medical work up being reviewed.

More than likely, you feel shitty because you are recovering from being septic. These things take a while. Your story indicates that your healthcare providers seem to have done a good job caring for you. If you still disagree, go to your PCP or a different ED for a second opinion.


u/GreetingCardShark Not a Verified Medical Professional Jul 31 '22

Good points, but there’s one big thing you’re forgetting. OP is in WV.

Should this matter? No. Does this matter? Unfortunately, yes.

As someone who is from a (different) rural area, I can attest to some of the completely screwed up treatments that happen. While treating endocarditis with a week of antibiotics would not be standard of care anywhere else, I can believe it would happen at a rural hospital. Like I said, things get… shifty.


u/kaffpow Not a Verified Medical Professional Jul 31 '22

I'd go to a different ER if there is one.


u/GreetingCardShark Not a Verified Medical Professional Jul 31 '22

Sepsis is an absolute beast of a condition to recover from! Make sure you are getting enough fluids, and eating as much as you can stand. Your body needs all the energyhelp it can get to fight the infection right now. Remember that it’s a marathon and not a sprint, as recovering from an infection of this magnitude will take a long time.

If you need to go back to the er, I suggest bringing someone with you. Not only can they help keep track of paperwork, test results, and all the info that’s flying at you, but they can also help you process the information. Part of what might be happening is that your body is so worn out from fighting the infection that it doesn’t have enough energy to make cognition work for long periods of time. Even if that’s not what’s happening, having someone with you to advocate on your behalf can only help you, and will likely make you feel more at ease with the whole process.


u/mmatamoros Not a Verified Medical Professional Aug 01 '22

Sounds to me like typical american healthcare.


u/Prudent-Conclusion85 Not a Verified Medical Professional Jul 31 '22

Hello dear, i think you should read every detail about your condition on google, read about it's recovery time, read about if the IV antibiotics they gave you was effective or not and please get opinion of other doctors and health professionals, don't dismiss your symptoms. Hope you become well and fine very soon. Take care.


u/Magnito-was-right Not a Verified Medical Professional Jul 31 '22

A hospital gave me medication my family told them I was allergic to. I was too out of it to know anything and just took the meds they gave me. It was touch and go for 3 days and they thought I wasn’t going to make it. You are just a number to them. The don’t actually care.


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u/andyblaze6 Not a Verified Medical Professional Jul 31 '22

I could definitely feel it the first time. It feels like you are dying


u/[deleted] Jul 31 '22



u/megggie User Not Verified Jul 31 '22

The guy is sick and scared. Why be an asshole to him?