Q: Can your polygraph examiner in Dublin make a doctor take a lie detector test?

My best friend was recently taken into hospital having had what appeared to be a stroke.  The hospital she was first taken to sent her elsewhere so that she could have a CT scan. When we arrived at the other hospital the doctor on emergency duty said she was drunk despite having very high blood pressure.  I told the doctor she was not drunk since I’d had dinner with her that evening and she had a half glass of white wine.  Not only that, she has never been drunk in the many years I have known her.

I suggested that if he really believed she was drunk, he should take a blood test to confirm it. He didn’t seem to be open to that.

He put her on a saline drip and I assume something to bring her blood pressure down.  Two hours later her blood pressure was considerably lower and I heard the doctor say to a nurse “See I told you she was drunk”.

I spoke to the nurse afterwards and she said that they could smell alcohol on her breath.  I explained again that she’d had very little to drink with her dinner.  The nurse shrugged and went away.  3 hours later the doctor came to take her blood pressure again and it was through the roof.  The speed with which they rushed her off for a CT scan was truly awe inspiring.

What transpired was that she was having a massive brain haemorrhage and they had to operate immediately after the scan.  She has been on a life support machine for almost 2 weeks and so much damage has been done to her brain that she will never recover.

From everything I have read I understand that the longer the delay in diagnosis, the worse the effect will be.  The emergency doctor denies saying that my friend was drunk but doesn’t seem to be able to explain why he delayed the CT scan.  Can he be made to take a lie detector test?

M. F., Dublin

Response from Polygraph Examiner in Dublin

I am sorry to hear about your friend.

Nobody can be forced to take a lie detector test, it must be voluntary.  In the circumstances it is also unlikely that the doctor would volunteer to take a test. If proven by the test and other corroborative evidence that he delayed treatment due to his misdiagnosis it would almost certainly lead to a compensation claim from your friend’s family against the hospital or the doctor or both.

The course of action the family can take is to see a lawyer who may take their case on a no win, no fee basis.  This assumes that those involved in her care including the surgeon and consultant accept that the delay caused her condition to worsen.

Naturally if you can get the emergency doctor to agree to a lie detector test I will be more than happy to conduct it.  However, as a polygraph examiner in Dublin I can tell you that I have never known a doctor volunteer to take a test over a matter like this.

I wish you and your friend’s family all the best in your endeavours to right what appears to be a wrong.

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