At the Hospital

I just heard this from a friend at my book club. I was stunned.

He went to a local hospital for a blood test. Before the test, he had to sign a form. Rather than sign on the electronic device with a stylus, he asked to sign a paper version. When he read the form, he noticed that it said that by signing the form he gave up his right to sue the hospital, healthcare personnel or to join a class action suit.

He crossed out that wording, even though he doubted he’d sue. The woman at the desk said he couldn’t do that. After he disputed her, she told him that if he amended the form, the hospital would not submit his claim to his insurance company. He’d have to pay for the test himself.

He asked to see a manager. When he did the manager admitted that the hospital couldn’t refuse to submit a claim for the blood test to insurance, but that he just instructed his staff to tell people that. Thus the manager was telling his staff to lie to patients to compel people to give up their rights.

If you encounter such a requirement, know that you’re probably being hoodwinked.

My friend is planning to contact the nearest city newspaper. I hope people learn that they’re being lied to. Another woman at the book club shared that she went to a new doctor and was given a similar form and was told that if she didn’t sign a paper waiving her legal right to sue, the doctor wouldn’t see her.

I understand that doctors worry about law suits, baseless and not, but that’s been the case for decades and they do have insurance for malpractice. Yes, that can be expensive depending on the doctor’s speciality and other factors, but it’s part of doing business.

I just spoke with my brother, who’s a lawyer about this. He says these “I won’t sue” clauses aren’t enforceable. You can sue. Still this practice is deceptive.

I’d refuse to waive any rights.

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