When medical emergencies happen, it’s often up to the doctors and nurses working in a hospital’s emergency department to save a patient’s life. These healthcare providers regularly save lives and prevent further injury or illness for those taken to the ER. However, healthcare providers are human and can make mistakes. These mistakes, however, can be harmful and sometimes fatal.
Medical malpractice and medical errors can have devastating consequences for patients and family members. When emergency room doctors and staff fail to meet an acceptable standard of care and malpractice occurs, victims have the right to fight to hold the medical professionals and the healthcare facility accountable.
If you believe that you were the victim of emergency room malpractice, contact a knowledgeable hospital malpractice lawyer at the Law Office Kelley J. Johnson now. We have extensive experience helping people like you get the answers and justice you deserve.
Can You File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for Emergency Room Errors?
Yes, you may file a lawsuit alleging medical malpractice in the emergency room, so long as you and your attorney have proof that there was negligence. ER malpractice claims are based on a standard level of care that is not provided. It is important to understand that a mistake or dissatisfaction with the outcome does not necessarily rise to the level of malpractice.
To be considered malpractice, the provider’s actions or lack of actions must fall below what’s called the “standard of medical care.” Generally speaking, the standard of medical care refers to a treatment that a reasonable healthcare provider, with the same level of training and experience, would make in a case similar to yours. You also have to show that the provider’s actions or lack thereof directly caused your injury while showing specific damages.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for Emergency Room Malpractice?
The most common person who can be held responsible for ER malpractice is an individual medical professional, such as the physician who administered care. But you may also be able to hold the healthcare facility accountable for damages that occurred due to ER malpractice. For example, you could show that overcrowding, understaffing, or administrative errors in the ER affected the care and treatment you received at the facility.
What Are Common Types of ER Malpractice?
Common instances of ER malpractice include:
- Inadequate Staffing – Emergency rooms are often the treatment facility of last resort. Understaffed and overcrowded emergency rooms mean long wait times for patients, which may lead to additional complications or a worse outcome than if the patient had been seen more quickly.
- Misdiagnosis – Related to the overcrowding issue, an understaffed emergency room means doctors and nurses work quickly to try to see everyone, leading to snap judgments that could lead to potential mistakes. This can include medication errors and mixed-up patient charts. A hospital may even send a patient home because of a misdiagnosis when the person should have been admitted for ongoing monitoring and treatment.
- Treatment Errors – Treatment errors include everything from incorrect surgeries and medication errors to providers failing to order the proper labs or diagnostic imaging because they’re in a rush or may not have the proper training and/or oversight from more senior medical staff. It’s a hospital’s job to make sure patients get quality care in a timely manner.
- Nursing Errors – There could be a failure by the nursing staff to obtain complete or adequate information that could impact the patient’s care. For example, nursing could fail to communicate to the physician important information shared by the patient. They could also fail to convey a patient’s test results or significant changes in a patient’s condition to the physician in a timely manner. Or, a nurse might not properly carry out the orders given by a physician to the patient. All of these scenarios could result in harm to the patient.
Contact an Indiana Emergency Room Malpractice Lawyer Now
Medical malpractice in the emergency room can have devastating consequences, and recovering from the experience can be a long, costly ordeal. The Law Office Kelley J. Johnson stands ready to investigate your case and fight to hold negligent medical professionals and hospitals accountable.
Our Indiana medical malpractice attorney takes great pride in helping people when their injuries occur due to someone else’s negligent, careless, or reckless actions. We have the extensive litigation experience required to help you recover the compensation you rightfully deserve for your medical injuries. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
This post was originally published in June 2020 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in December 2022.