According to the American Medical Association, over 225,000 individuals die because of medical malpractice related cases every year, with nearly half of these reported fatalities stemming from emergency room errors.
The emergency room (ER) is often the first stop for individuals who suddenly experience an unexpected medical problem or issue. Whenever a medical emergency occurs, people depend on the skills and knowledge of ER doctors, nurses and other personnel to provide urgent care.
Emergency rooms are high-stress and fast-paced environments, and are often understaffed or overcrowded. Despite the state of the emergency room, however, medical professionals are required to provide patients with the standard of care expected of them. ER personnel must be able to make fast decisions on matters related to life and death.
Examples of emergency room errors
When emergency room patients are treated with negligence, even the simplest medical conditions can become much worse. Some common emergency room errors are:
- Misdiagnosis of the patient’s condition
- Delaying the diagnosis of the patient’s condition
- Ignoring obvious signs of distress such as organ failure
- Prescribing or administering the incorrect medication or dosage
- Administering medications that are contraindicated
- Failing to obtain a comprehensive medical history
- Overlooking crucial information given when taking medical history
- Failing to perform the proper diagnostic tests
- Misinterpreting MIRS, CTs, x-rays and other test results
- Failing to refer a patient to the proper specialist
- Failing to notify a patient of test findings
Failing to provide a patient with follow-up instructions
- Discharging patients that are critically or seriously ill
Liability in ER errors
Employers are generally held legally responsible for the negligence of their employees when the error occurs within the scope of employment. However, employers are not always responsible for the negligent actions of independent contractors. Many emergency room physicians, for instance, are considered to be independent contractors. It is important to closely examine the relationship between any and all parties potentially liable for an emergency room error.
Errors in the emergency room typically occur when the individual is already under some form of physical distress. It can therefore be challenging to establish that an error on the part of a negligent medical professional resulted in further injury. A knowledgeable and experienced lawyer can help determine whether a person has a valid claim, as well as help identify the party liable for the emergency room error.
Professional standard of care
When it comes to the validity of medical malpractice claims focusing on emergency room errors, a number of factors must first be established. It must be proven that the physician and the patient had a physician-patient relationship, that the physician had a responsibility of providing the patient with a professional standard of care, and that the physician breached this standard of care due to a careless or negligent action or inaction. It must also be established that the patient suffered an injury because of this breach of duty, and that the patient suffered damages as a result of the injury.
A standard of care means the actions of the ER medical professional will be compared to what other ER medical professionals would do if placed in the same situation. If the physician or nurse’s actions deviated from what other physicians or nurses would do, then it may be classified as negligence.
It is important to remember that not every emergency room outcome can be positive, even if the medical personnel does everything properly. After all, many individuals go to the emergency room already severely injured or ill. A negative outcome does not automatically mean that medical malpractice has been committed.
Compassionate medical malpractice lawyer ready to help
From evaluation to discharge, medical malpractice can occur at any point in an individual’s stay in the emergency room. The Fitch Law Firm represents patients who sustained injuries or harm at any stage of their emergency room visit.
If you have reason to believe that you or a loved one was a victim of an emergency room error that resulted in an extended hospital stay or injury, consult with an Ohio hospital malpractice lawyer at the The Fitch Law Firm as soon as possible. We can examine your case exhaustively and help you seek financial compensation for the injuries you have sustained. You may be eligible to collect a recovery for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, mental anguish, and other damages and losses.
We are here to fight for you and help you get the justice you deserve. Call The Fitch Law Firm at 855-LAW-OHIO or fill out our online consultation form to schedule a free consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.