When a patient checks into the ER, most of the time they are sick or in a lot of pain. Their minds might not be as sharp as usual, and they might have other things to worry about than signing release forms. These forms, however, may become the center of a lawsuit that could come to trial in the near future.
A California hospital’s liability is at the center of this release form lawsuit. In August 2008, Dean Whitlow awoke to hear his mother screaming uncontrollably. She claimed to be having the worst headache of her life. She was in such agony and Whitlow decided there was nothing to do but take her to the emergency room. On the way, she vomited in the car, and when they got to the waiting room at Rideout Memorial Hospital, she vomited again.
According to court documents, her pain ranked at a 6 out of 10, but would periodically spike to 10 out of 10. When the hospital staff asked her to sign a “Conditions Admissions” form, but her son insisted that she was so overwhelmed with the pain and nausea and she was crying uncontrollably. There was no way for her to be able to consent to these forms or even read them. Whitlow also stated that no one on the hospital staff ever read the statements to her in order to help her out.