ER abuse was encouraged last night

Specialties Emergency


:angryfire I couldn't believe this one, but my true story here from last night brings a point home of why there are some problems with "the system"

This happened to me last night, no joke:

Background: I bicycle to work and back quite often for exercise, save on gasoline, etc. My employer carries decent insurance on me with $20/copay for office/urgent care ("doc in the box") visits.

Yesterday, I was peddling my bicycle home and was hit by a car. Thought not my fault, and the young (maybe 19 or so) driver just didn't see me, drove into me from a driveway in front of a fast food place, and I got splattered out in the middle of the road. The girls were VERY nice young ladies, and ironically, are going to be attending their year in the nursing program at the local college. They(driver and her passenger who saw me, and thought her friend/driver saw me) were crying, and all in all, it was just a sincere accident. I'm bruised up, but ice, antiinflammatories, rest, and I'll be okay. Bike was unridable and too broken after that, and the hood/bumper of the car broke my helmet. Maybe a mild concussion going on, but no LOC or concerning sx's in that regard.

Well, my point on this topic- I called my father (I carry a cell phone always except on the job) who was at his work, had him come pick me and the broken bike up and take me to my house. I decided it would be a good idea to go over to local urgent care/after hours clinic in town. I figured I have medical insurance, and the side of my body impacted is swollen/hurting, so getting checked out wouldn't be a bad idea considering what happened. I drove myself to the clinic. The lady at the urgent clinic says that because an automobile had been involved she couldn't accept my insurance and that they would need cash up front if I wanted to be seen. WTF, no way am I going to pay some exorbant amount to be told to take aleve, use ice, and do what I know to. I have concern of an orthopedic injury to the knee, but that's going to wait for my PCP Monday. The lady said I should go to the ER. I told that it seems like a rather huge waste of resources since I wasn't having a heart attack or something. I said "well if I bleed to death in my sleep, maybe you'll change your policies" I left, went home and just laid in a cool bath with ice packs on my hurt areas.

Scary incident, though I'm very thankful it was me and not some little kid that might have got killed or something.

Fortunately, though hurting, I'm okay considering, but rather disgusted at how they were encouraging me to waste resources at the local emergency room.

Katnip, RN

2,904 Posts

Wow. Now that's shabby treatment. Did you get insurance information from the girl? I know it was likely an honest accident, but that doesn't relieve them from the liability of paying your medical costs related to the accident, or for fixing/replacing the bike for that matter.

By the way. You avatar looks just like the kitty my son rescued a while ago. Formerly Captain Jack, now Squeegee.

Baby Catcher

86 Posts

Believe it or not my health insurance does not cover auto accidents. I have BCBS at work and always assumed that would be covered but it's not. Pretty scary.

Katnip, RN

2,904 Posts

The other person's auto insurance should have covered it though.


1 Article; 5,758 Posts

Sounds to me like you should be worked up throughly. Sorry, a person who just got splatted the way that you just did is not a good judge of how injured they are. I would insist on a whole body scan of some sort.

Dixielee, BSN, RN

1,222 Posts

Specializes in ER.

Oramar, I must respectfully disagree with you. An injured person is the best person to determine how he feels and has a good idea of the extent of his injuries. I can't tell you how many people come into the ER after a minor MVC and say they want to get "checked out". When asked where they hurt, sometimes they tell you they are having no pain, and no obvious injury, they just want to make sure there will be no problems later. Short of a total body, MRI, CT of everything with contrast, extensive lab studies and maybe a cardiac cath, I'm not sure you could ever say you were sure nothing would show up later. Medicine has yet to come up with a star trek style scanner, but I know they are working on it. Obviously, if the person is so seriously injured that their judgement is impaired, or if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they would not be able to make competent decisions. But in many cases, as in the one posted, the person was obviously able to determine her needs. I am not excusing the actions of the urgent care facility, and certainly don't condone their practices, but I do hate to see people come to the ER for themselves or their children when there are no real complaints. We can blame our insurance carriers for perpetuating this problem.

Nurse Ratched, RN

2,149 Posts

Specializes in Geriatrics/Oncology/Psych/College Health.
Believe it or not my health insurance does not cover auto accidents.

That's just totally freaky. I mean, from the cyclists standpoint, it wasn't an auto accident, it was a bike accident! :)

Specializes in Emergency/Trauma/Education.

While I don't understand why the urgent care facility wouldn't take your insurance, they do have the right to insist upon payment. Urgent care facilities aren't held to the same standards as EDs (EMTALA, etc.). The ED would have accepted your insurance & then you could have gone after the driver's insurance for reimbursement. Considering the mechanism of your injury, you had every right to be seen in the ED. Yes, I've treated the people who have no complaints & just want to be "checked out", but you certainly were not in that category.

Take care of yourself & feel better. And don't forget to get a new helmet! :)


1 Post

1. A police report should be filed.

2. Her auto insurance should cover the ER visit.

3. An Urgent Care does not have the equipment to handle your complaints. ie possible internal injuries, cracked helmet, sound like enough to warrant a CT scan.

z's playa

2,056 Posts

Sounds to me like you should be worked up throughly. Sorry, a person who just got splatted the way that you just did is not a good judge of how injured they are. I would insist on a whole body scan of some sort.

I agree that a visit to the ER is totally necessary here..maybe not a whole scan of the body but a thorough check over from a doctor. I've heard of many people going home after waiving the ER and end up having severe injuries that would have been caught if they'd gone to the hospital.


30 Posts

I've been having 10/10 pain all day and was pretty frightened when I peed blood. A closefriend who gets Rx's for generic soma and lortab brought me a coupe and they're helping get me though the pain part, but i'm increasingly concenned that maybe I should go to the ER and have some jerk 'treat and street' then have the balls to send a bill for them doing nothing *sigh*Maybe's i'm not thikcing clearly as norma. Gonna head down for now. nite nite


74 Posts

You need to go to an ER immediately. Hematuria following trauma is a bad thing; have yourself checked out...this cannot wait.

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