Emergency Room Errors
Although emergency rooms can be a chaotic place where information is exchanged fast and decisions must be made quickly, doctors and other health care professionals within emergency departments owe a high duty of care to their patients. When ER malpractice occurs and a patient is injured or experiences a worsening condition as a result, that patient has a right to demand full compensation for all losses suffered.
At the Serious Injury Law Group, our lawyers are dedicated to finding out what happened in an emergency room, how emergency room errors are made, and who should be held liable when emergency room malpractice occurs. If you’re the victim of an Alabama emergency room error, our lawyers can help you to understand your rights and your chances of recovering compensation for the harm you have suffered.
For your free consultation with an experienced ER malpractice lawyer, please call our law office today or contact us online.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for an ER Error?
If you think that you have an emergency room medical malpractice claim, it’s important that you understand against whom you will file your suit and who can be held liable for your damages. Typically, any party that breached the standard of care owed to the patient can be held responsible for an ER error:
- Usually, the duty to act within the medical standard of care falls on the shoulders of the emergency room doctor.
- However, other professionals, such as a nurse who treats you, could be found liable if their failure to exercise the standard of care led to your harm.
- In addition to the medical professional themselves, the hospital may also be found liable if its failure was the cause of harm. For example, if the error/injury would not have occurred but for the hospital’s failure to implement better practices and protocols, then the hospital could be named in the lawsuit.
Our medical malpractice attorneys can go over exactly what happened in your case to identify all potentially liable parties.
What Do You Have to Prove in an Emergency Room Malpractice Claim?
All medical malpractice claims require that the patient prove four primary elements:
- The medical professional owed the patient a duty of care. The first thing that must be established is that the medical professional in question owed the patient a duty of care. The medical standard of care varies depending on the type of medical professional involved. (For example, a surgeon is held to a different standard than is a nurse, who is held to a different standard than is an OB/GYN, etc.).
- The medical standard of care was breached. The next element of a medical malpractice claim is proving that the medical standard of care owed to the patient was breached. It is important to understand that a medical professional cannot be held liable simply because they made an error. They must have actually acted outside of the standard of care. For example, if a patient comes in with all of the symptoms of the common cold, prescribing rest and an over-the-counter cold medication may be something that 95 percent of professionals in the same situation would do. As such, this would not be a breach of the standard of care. If the patient comes in with a cough that has lasted for three months, as well as other physical symptoms, and the doctor were simply to prescribe rest, on the other hand, most physicians would agree that this is not the proper course of action ─ tests should be conducted and the patient should be referred to a specialist. In this case, then, the standard of care is
- The breach of the standard of care was the proximate cause of injury. The next thing that a plaintiff in a medical malpractice claim will need to prove is that the breach of the standard of care was the proximate cause of their injury. Using the example of the patient with the cough above, if the same patient was actually suffering from cancer and was not referred to a specialist or sent for lab tests, they can hold the medical professional liable for their harm if they can prove that their cancer would not have progressed but for the doctor’s failure to diagnose and treat them.
- The patient suffered damages. Finally, the last element of a medical malpractice claim is proving that a patient has suffered damages. Examples of damages that a patient may incur as a result of medical malpractice include high medical bills, pain, suffering, lost wages, loss of quality of life, and more.
Common Errors in Emergency Rooms
Emergency rooms are chaotic, and errors are common. Some of the most common emergency room errors are:
- One of the most common emergency room errors is that of a misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose. In fact, in many cases, patients who are suffering symptoms of serious conditions, such as a heart attack, are actually dismissed from the emergency room and sent home.
- Medication errors. Medication errors that can lead to patient harm include administration errors, medication mix-ups, patient mix-ups, giving a patient a medication to which they are allergic or cannot safely take in conjunction with another medication, or dosage errors.
- Failure to treat. Even when a patient is properly diagnosed, they don’t always receive the proper course of treatment. This can lead to a worsening of the condition.
- Contamination and infection errors. Unsanitary conditions or unsafe practices can lead to contamination of medical instruments and the spread of health care-associated infections (HAIs) and other infections.
The above list is not inclusive. If you’ve been harmed in an emergency room as the result of malpractice, you may have a claim for damages.
Compensation for Hospital Errors
If you have a valid medical malpractice claim, you may be able to recover compensation for the injuries you’ve suffered as a result of emergency room errors. Our lawyers can help you to build your claim for full compensation for your:
- Current and future medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Loss of quality of life
- Home accommodations related to your injuries
- All other economic and noneconomic losses
Talk to a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Now
To learn more about medical malpractice claims in Alabama and how to start the claims process today, please call our experienced emergency room malpractice lawyers at the Serious Injury Law Group. A consultation is free, and we can answer all your questions.