"I'm going to sue you", What do you say? - page 3

This has happened to me soooo many times but especially during the past year. One particular time I told the doctor and he came straight over and DC'd the patient and told the family not to ever... Read More

  1. by   hbncns35
    I would say - Who's Sue????

    Just kidding - I would try to get more info out of them and find a middle ground for discusssion. Maybe they just need more info. Depends of situation. HB
  2. by   veegeern
    This has been said to me twice in the past year. Both times were by family members on the telephone. In both cases the patient had intentionally not given their dear loved one the pass code that allows her/him to have access to information r/t the patient. My routine spiel about federal law, patient information, and the pass code was met with variations of "I'm going to sue," "I'm going to have your job," and "I'm going to own *** Hospital." My response was "That's up to you. However, federal law states that I cannot give you the information." Both family members slammed the phone down, and neither family member was heard from again during that admission.
  3. by   illya
    To Siri, I know an ER Nurse, who replied the same way you did, she never heard anyting further.
  4. by   yvonnemuse
    I have been told I would be sued, out of a job, or that I worked for THEM and needed to be at their whims call. In all these cases it is frustration that is driving them.Frustration ends up being whining which is anger coming out of a very small hole. These folks are feeling powerless and want to see me flinch and either bristle at them or become so humble I am subservient.I do neither. i do what they NEED. I make a neutral reply that indicates that I have no fear and then ask what I can reasonably do to alleviate anxiety.If they persist in being obnoxious, I refer them to my nurse manager.And yes, I will even WRITE my name down for them.
  5. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from havin' a party!
    shouldn't comments like the ones mentioned here be addressed more directly though?

    something like: "you appear to be upset. can i help you with anything?" or anything to this effect.

    this would give the patient (or whoever) the opportunity to state their specific prob, and provide us with some identifiable issue we may need to pass on or act on, if reasonable, to avoid or minimize any damage that might ensue.

    since the complaint may be legit, why not take advantage and learn where they're coming from at an early junction?
    in my experience, the ones who threaten to sue you are the ones who are angry and just want to take it out on you. the folks who really intend to sue don't usually throw a fit and threaten to do so.

    the last patient i had threaten to sue me was 24 hours post cabg and withdrawing from the etoh he swore up and down he never touched. he screamed, loud enough to be heard down the hall and out in the waiting room, "give me a drink right now or i'll sue your fu--ing a$$!" you can't reason with someone like that, can't provide bartending service and can only give ativan if it's ordered.

    ruby
  6. by   worldtraveler
    Quote from DutchgirlRN
    This has happened to me soooo many times but especially during the past year. One particular time I told the doctor and he came straight over and DC'd the patient and told the family not to ever darken his doorway again that he would not put up with patients or their families threatening the nurses. Go doc !!! You rock !!!

    Yesterday the twin brother of a patient said "I'm an attorney and I may consider suing".

    Several months ago, "If you don't do as I ask I'll sue you, where's a phone book so I can look for an attorney".

    People obviously think this scares me. It doesn't. It's kinda like threatening to go AMA. So what, go ahead, you're only hurting yourself I want to say. What I really say is....... What you're not realizing is threatening to go AMA is not a threat to me only to your health and to your finances.

    Back to the subject......I tell patients/family members "I can only follow the doctors orders and if you feel as though you need to call an attorney then please do whatever you feel you need to. I'm not concerned that I've done anything illegal".

    I wish more doctors would throw patients out on their can for threatening!!!

    When I worked hospitals and heard this threat, I informed them of my name as it is on my ID Badge and if needed, I could refer them to a good attorney should they desire.
  7. by   carlarn
    I am always amazed when people tell me they are going to sue. I heard it alot when I worked in the county jail. I usually just told them to stand in line. It wasn't necessarily the right thing to say, but it had the intended effect--it let them know I wasn't afraid of their threats.:stone
  8. by   Happy2Beme
    I was employed in a Med-Mal office for 6 months before they "downsized" (lost one attoney and didn't want to pay 2 RN's), but I took the incoming phone calls, you know the ones where the back of the phone book ad, (yeah that was us) said "free consultation".

    Anyway, it was my job to get the story, ask all the right questions to determine if it really might be med-mal or just somebody like most of the world who think they can just sue because their wheaties were soggy.
    Well, it became very quickly appearent that most people called in because they had been treated in a way they PERCEIVED as rude, and it P*&^^ed them off.
    Plain and simply, if you are short in your mannerisms or incomplete in your teaching with patients, you might as well be wearing a "sue me" sign on your head.
    Not that they can bring suite for the little things they think, there must be pretty horrific damages or blatant med-mal to make the case worthwhile for the JD but most people probably could be calmed with an "I'm sorry you feel that way, is there something we can discuss to try to better meet your needs or expectations?", then quickly hand it UP your chain of comand.

    Bottom line "A gentle answer turns away wrath"
  9. by   Happy2Beme
    Quote from ruby vee
    you can't reason with someone like that, can't provide bartending service and can only give ativan if it's ordered.

    ruby
    that is bartending isn't it?
  10. by   kadokin
    Quote from caroladybelle
    They are just being manipulative, like children.

    My favorite is "I'm gonna have your job", usually said by a male.

    (please, take my job!!!!! But quite frankly, Honey, you don't have the balls to do my job)
    SO TRUE
  11. by   anothermadhatter
    Depending on the circumstances, I may attempt to diffuse the situation by finding out what was viewed as being done wrong or not done, make succinct apology, and appropriate corrective action...again depending on circumstances. Usually, there is no legitimate complaint, so instead of giving my name, I give them the name and direct office extension of the ER Director...God I love this job!!
  12. by   dthfytr
    I've 2 responses depending on the circumstances. I either get another nurse to take over the patients care making sure the nurse knows why I'm requesting the change. The other response is to just say "that's fine" and document the situation and quote the patient or family member.

    Threatening to sue is a control game, usually because the person making the threat feels helpless.

    I've been an EMT and RN for over 20 years. I'm comfortable with the care I deliver. The person threatening to sue me has to prove I did something wrong which harmed the patient. Since I've yet to make a mistake that harmed a patient, I know they're is nothing they can sue me for anyway and I don't sweat it.

    I loathe lawyers, so I carry my own insurnce for less than $100/year. If somebody actually did sue me, the insurance co. can find and pay a lawyer for me. It also helps when an employer is trying to bluff me about some patient ridiculous issue. "my insurance company has a stake in this, so I'll have them contact you" usually makes managers much more reasonable.
  13. by   ShayRN
    Quote from carlarn
    I am always amazed when people tell me they are going to sue. I heard it alot when I worked in the county jail. I usually just told them to stand in line. It wasn't necessarily the right thing to say, but it had the intended effect--it let them know I wasn't afraid of their threats.:stone
    I had a similar stock reply when I worked the jail. Get in line, which would you like first, my mortgage or my car payment.

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