Emergency rooms across the country admit, manage, and discharge patients day and night, putting significant pressure on the physicians and other professionals who work in them. The intensity and demands of the job can quickly lead to fatigue, burnout, distraction, and stress, which can make it more challenging to provide adequate and responsible care to every patient in the ER.
Emergency departments are very different environments from most clinical wards. Physicians often work with incomplete or unreliable information, and there are frequent interruptions. Although it is understandable that medical professionals in the ER are under intense pressure, patients still have the right to expect that they will be given adequate care and consideration. Any mistake or error could have a significant impact on the patient’s health and well-being and, in the worst instances, could prove to be fatal.
If you were hurt or if you lost a loved one due to an emergency room error, you could be entitled to seek compensation through a medical malpractice claim. To learn about your legal rights, contact the knowledgeable ER malpractice lawyer at the Law Office of Kelley J. Johnson for a free case review.
What You Need to Prove in a Medical Malpractice Case Based on Emergency Room Errors
It’s important to understand that not every mistake or bad outcome in an emergency room can be considered medical malpractice. To prove a medical malpractice claim based on an emergency room error, you’ll need to establish:
- There was a doctor-patient relationship. If a doctor examines a patient in the emergency room or provides treatment, they establish a doctor-patient relationship. Records of admittance to the ER and treatment charts are usually sufficient to meet this requirement.
- The treatment you received fell short of the acceptable standard of care. You must prove that the standard of care, or the level of competence provided by emergency room staff, is below what other doctors or nurses in an emergency room would have provided. This may require expert testimony by another medical professional, which your attorney can arrange.
- You directly suffered harm as a result. This harm could be in the form of additional pain and suffering, increased medical costs to treat the damage caused by the malpractice, loss of future earning capacity, or loss of the ability to enjoy life.
Examples of ER Negligence
Many things could go wrong in an emergency room, but some examples include:
- Medication or prescription errors
- Ignored policies, including paperwork errors
- Miscommunication between doctors and nurses, especially during shift changes
- Improper or early discharge of a critically ill patient
- Errors in interpreting charts like X-rays or CT scans
- Delayed treatment, sometimes due to overcrowding or lack of sufficient staff
Harm Caused by ER Errors
Results of emergency room mistakes can include:
- Increased recovery time
- Illness caused by incorrect medication or dosage
- Worsening of the patient’s condition
- Cardiac damage from undiagnosed heart attacks
- Botched or unnecessary medical procedures, including operations or surgeries
Any harm could be further compounded by inaccurate or miscommunicated information.
Talk to an Emergency Room Errors Attorney Today
If you were hurt or if you lost a loved one due to an emergency room error, contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer at the Law Office of Kelley J. Johnson immediately.
While you’re still dealing with the issue that brought you to the emergency room in the first place, as well as the additional issues caused by the emergency room error, you need a dedicated legal team that will fight for your rights.
Call us or fill out our contact form today to schedule a free consultation.