My husband starting feeling sick at work around 9am. His boss let him leave. He went to urgent care, and from there he was taken to the hospital. When he was admitted, the nurse let him know that she called my job to inform me he was in the hospital. No one from my job informed me. I went home and started to worry when my husband wasn't coming home from work. I didn't find out until 9pm. Is there anything I can do?

I'm in Illinois. Dupage County, in the Chicago suburbs. I haven't asked yet why I wasn't informed. I missed work the next two days. I'm hoping to get more information before I go into work tomorrow. I will be asking then.

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    This sounds like too much of a legal question for this site, but... What do you hope to gain here? If your goal is to get someone fired, going through a lawsuit for that probably isn't worth it (but it would be for you, I don't know). If your goal is a cash settlement, that usually comes down to attaching some monetary value to any distress cause by negligence - I can't imagine you'd get a lot unless e.g. your husband passed away before you managed to get there. Then there's also the question of how easily reachable you are and whether you can even sue the company or just the one responsible. – Bernhard Barker Jun 24 '18 at 14:36
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    Don't forget the whole "innocent until proven guilty" thing. It's sort of important in US law. Even if the failure to deliver the message was deliberate and malicious, and even if there IS a law you can reasonably say they broke, you still have to prove they broke that law. If all you've got is "I didn't receive the message" then you haven't actually proven any wrongdoing. – Steve-O Jun 24 '18 at 20:43
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    What "action" are you hoping to achieve? A lawsuit? Get someone fired? Is your husband worse off because of your absence? – Jack Jun 24 '18 at 20:54
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    Those who closed this question: Pray tell, where are the company-specific regulations, agreements, or policies? Where is the request for legal advice? – user1602 Jul 1 '18 at 19:21
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    Also: I'm hoping to get more information before I go into work tomorrow. I will be asking then. Any updates on what actually happened? – user8036 Aug 3 '18 at 13:01

At the moment you don't know why this happened. There are many possibilities:

  • Someone who hates you got the message and ignored it.
  • Someone got the message, wrote it down, but forgot to give it to you.
  • Someone got the message, was on his/her way to your desk to deliver it, but then got interrupted and forgot.
  • Someone got the message and sent you an e-mail, but due to some glitch the e-mail didn't get delivered, or the user was offline, or some such.

Upsetting as this is, do you want to go in angry and jeopardize your job over it?

It would be best to start by assuming it was a mistake rather than a deliberate decision by anyone. If you feel the need to investigate nonetheless, make it as casual as you can. Perhaps talk to your boss: "It's strange, the hospital said they left a message here, but somehow I never got it..." Give them a chance to explain.

By the way, I'd say the hospital screwed up too. They didn't talk to you, so they didn't have any way of knowing whether you'd gotten the message. At least they could have left you the message at home as well as at work.

EDIT: One thing that just occurred to me:

Due to HIPAA, the hospital was probably not at liberty to say much of anything about why they were calling. They certainly couldn't mention your husband's condition, and they might not even have felt it was legally proper to mention his name.

It's quite possible that all they said was something extremely generic like "Please have [regina] call [XYZ Hospital] as soon as she can." It's likely that the people you work with quite reasonably had no idea the message had much importance or real urgency.


I strongly doubt that anyone intentionally avoided informing you. In all likelihood, there was some miscommunication, either the nurse called the wrong place or someone told someone else to pass a message along and they failed to do so out of forgetfulness.

Going into work looking for revenge is going to end poorly for you. I strongly recommend that you consider this an honest mistake on someone's part.

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    Maybe you're right, but I don't know what it would take to forget to tell somebody that their husband has been admitted to hospital. That is a "stand up and find them" type message. – user1666620 Jun 24 '18 at 16:21
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    @user1666620 what if they left a voicemail that nobody received? What if it's the nurse that made the mistake and intended to call, but had to deal with another emergency and forgot? What if they called the wrong office? – Laconic Droid Jun 24 '18 at 19:25

Assuming the nurse did in fact call your place of work, you now know the quality of the people you work for.

So you need to ask yourself - are these the kinds of people that deserve you? Because you sure as hell know how much they value you.

Polish the CV and move on.

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    This answer is making a lot of assumptions. We don't know who answered the call at the OP's workplace, we don't know if they did indeed try reaching the OP. Jumping to conclusions like that and taking extreme measures like looking for another job when OP doesn't even know what went wrong is bad advice. – Masked Man Jun 24 '18 at 17:07
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    @user1666620 We don't know whether the employer had anything to do with this. Sometimes this sort of thing is a failing by one individual, not a reflection of company attitudes: askamanager.org/2017/09/… – Geoffrey Brent Jun 24 '18 at 23:05
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    @teego1967 Agreed, but I'm not sure what that has to do with anything I said. – Geoffrey Brent Jun 25 '18 at 3:03
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    Quitting your job because the receptionist didn't check voicemail is pretty extreme. – Glen Pierce Jun 25 '18 at 12:42
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    We don't know how the OP work structure is like. Maybe she is out in the field or with customers, and the caller couldn't reach her and then forgot to follow up due to other tasks. Plus, why did the OP's husband gave his wife's work number instead of something direct like a cell or home phone? – Dan Jun 25 '18 at 14:31

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