Emergency room negligence
All healthcare professionals have a duty to provide a reasonable or appropriate level of care to their patients. This is referred to as “standard of care” and is defined as the level and nature of care that a reasonably competent and skilled professional would be expected to provide in his or her specialty, taking into account the medical knowledge that is available to that professional. In other words, what would the average physician customarily or typically do in similar circumstances.
Emergency rooms, by their very nature, are chaotic places. ER doctors see patients who need medical care as a result of accidents, the sudden onset of an illness or other acute/chronic medical condition, or patients that have been the victims of some type of violence. ER’s are often overcrowded, resulting in a long wait time for patients seeking treatment. Many patients coming to the emergency room require immediate treatment and can’t afford to wait for a healthcare professional to administer the appropriate treatment.
Another issue that often arises is the lack of informed consent needed to provide care to a patient. This is especially problematic in the ER because the patient may not be able to give his or her consent to care, and no family members may be present that can speak on his or her behalf.
These conditions can result in patient neglect, misdiagnosis and wrongful treatment, or errors when it comes to administering medications and anesthetics. Errors are caused by this kind of negligence can lead to serious injuries and even death.
When a physician acts in a negligent manner towards a patient that results in injury, the injured party may be able to pursue financial compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Cases and lawsuits
While millions of people experience a high level of care when seeking treatment at their local ER, emergency room errors can have devastating consequences for a patient and his or her family. The chaotic nature of the emergency rooms and the prevalence of reduced staffing levels results in a greater patient load for ER doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals which, in turn, increases the chances of emergency room negligence.
In most medical malpractice cases, the doctor, nurses, or other professionals involved in the case are held liable, but sometimes the clinic or hospital may also be held liable. Patients can file lawsuits against the facility, or the medical professional(s) involved or both.
Help us help you
ER doctors may be given more leeway with respect to medical malpractice claims than other doctors who have more time to assess the patient and have access to his or her medical records. However, the chaotic nature of an emergency room doesn’t protect an ER doctor from providing less than the standard care for a patient.
If you feel that you have a case of medical malpractice after seeking treatment at an emergency room, you need to contact a medical malpractice attorney. Scott S. Harris, attorney for medical mistakes, has been fighting for victims of medical malpractice for over 30 years. Contact the Law Offices of Scott S. Harris to schedule your free consultation.