[US-FL] Hospitalized and held against my will due to intoxication. Questions regarding personal agency.

TL;DR: I was not allowed to decline treatment due to intoxication and their thought that I had a recent head injury.

  • When am I allowed to decline treatments, go home, etc. when alcohol is involved?
  • Do I have any rights with any alcohol in my system?
  • Even though the head "injury" was just a sunburn, is that enough for them to be legally protected for forcing this?

The important parts are probably the beginning for context and the very end. The rest is for the interested reader, and for my own venting.

I'll start with saying that this is ultimately my fault for being drunk. I've since decided to quit drinking; I'm tired of the mistakes and loss of self. That being said, I am not here to try and claim that none of the upcoming bill should be mine to pay–I used the services, I will pay for them–but I am seeking clarification. I need to fully understand my rights, because I currently feel very violated, and I would appreciate your help with this. Thank you!

A few days ago, I got drunk at the bar and got an Uber home. My city is pretty confusing with their street signs, there are multiple streets all with the same name but with different suffixes. The driver passed my exact place but I was close to home so I let him know I would walk the rest of the way. When I left the vehicle, I was about a one minute walk to my apartment door. I was very close.

We have police that frequent the area. They park along the street or cruise around most of each day and night. On this night, they happened to be patrolling right as I was dropped off. So in that short walk home, an officer asked me to stop and talk with her, and I did. I answered some general questions, who I was, where I was going, what day it was, etc. She remarked that my head looked like I had hit it. In reality, I had gotten sun burned on my bald spot the week prior on a vacation because I forgot to put sunscreen lotion on my bald circle, and it was peeling. I told her this, and she asked me to sit down, and I did.

Several minutes went by, and an ambulance showed up. The EMTs asked me much of the same, and I answered the same. I should say, I was clearly very drunk here, but I was also answering everything correctly and they knew my apartment was within spitting distance. They asked me to take a ride in the ambulance to go to the hospital and check my head. I said I really don't need to, I'm right by home! The officer said it was either that, or jail. I said I couldn't afford it, could she just take me in her patrol car? She said no, I had to take the ambulance. So, reluctantly (in a sullen way, not angry way), I did.

We get to the hospital, they start hitting me up with IVs and such, and I'm asking to please not get any treatment, I can't afford it (this will be a theme). Doctor shows up and wants me to get a CT scan, but after some back and forth he thankfully lets me decline that. They put me in a room and leave me alone for a an hour or two. People come in but won't answer any questions, and just say I can't leave until the doctor says so.

It's 3 ours in and I'm still hooked up with no indication of leaving. At this point, I am opening my door to ask people walking by to get the doctor. Security comes and stands outside my door. I'm asking for information, and they won't talk to me. One guard comes in the room and makes me sit down. I ask if I can see the doctor. The doctor comes and says I can't leave because I'm a liability to the hospital if I leave. I tell him that I do understand that, but I truly cannot afford any of this, and I need to stop taking treatments. If I could just wait in a waiting room or something, that would be preferable. He says no, asks if I want a CT scan again, and leaves.

I eventually need to pee, and the guard won't let me leave for that. They make me pee in a bottle in front of him and a nurse. I'm not really shy, but they were treating me like a criminal! At no point was I combative! I was not aggressive in any way! I did plea with them to just let me stop taking treatment. I did open the door to ask for the doctor, but never even walked out of the door.

They had someone come in to talk, which was kind of demeaning, but also really nice after hours without communication. I let her know my biggest deal was the price. She called the doctor in and he said I need to stop worrying about the price. He said people come in all the time and don't pay their bills, so there is no problem. I know people come in and don't pay their bills, but I'm not some deadbeat! I take responsibility for my shit! But when I don't want a product or service, I don't buy it, and I didn't want these services!

Not long after, the doctor relents, and says I can leave if I have a driver. So I called an Uber. They then moved the goalpost, and said I need to know the driver, so they send that person home. Okay, at this point it is bright and early, and none of my friends that are in town are awake. I moved here recently and am thankful I had any friends! So I waited even longer until finally someone showed up. The doctor grilled him on how he knew me, then took 45 minutes to get the discharge paperwork ready, which I'm sure I'll be paying for there too.

Ultimately, the whole process was ridiculous. I was lucid throughout the entire process, knew who, where, and when I was, and knew why they wanted me there. But they tossed me around person to person, didn't give me clear answers, and treated me like a criminal when I was being as responsible as I could've been (after already consuming an irresponsible number of drinks). And when I was finally ready to go home, they made the process as painful as possible for everyone involved.

  • The bill is going to be outrageous because I used emergency services for hours, but they were all against my wishes. Does that matter at all?
  • Do I have to eat all of this myself? I understand paying for some of it, but we are talking about hours that I was just sitting in a room waiting to leave that I'm going to get billed for.

One positive thing to come out of this: the writing has been on the wall for me to quit drinking for awhile. It's definitely time. Thank you for any and all help and advice.


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