Consult a Long Island medical malpractice lawyer to determine if you may recover damages for medical malpractice that results from treatment received in the emergency room. Such cases may seem more likely during emergencies, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Although negligence may occur in the ER, its prevalence may not be higher. This is because ER cases have different standards.
Defining Medical Malpractice
These cases must prove a treating health care provider violated or fell below the accepted standard of care any other medical provider would have given a patient in a similar circumstance. The key is proving to a judge or jury that most health care providers in the same situation would have acted at in a different manner than the accused.
Patients cannot expect physicians practicing medicine in emergency rooms to act in the same manner as a doctor who is performing a pre-planned surgical procedure. The quick, split-second decisions required in an emergency room setting cannot be compared to the research time and medical record preview that is privileged to scheduled surgeons.
Emergency Medical Malpractice
Still, there are cases of malpractice in emergency rooms. Since personnel in this environment are working at a fast pace, there is ample opportunity for missteps to occur.
Errors often experienced in emergency rooms include:
- Misdiagnosis – The patient’s condition or disease is not properly identified, which may lead to incorrect treatment.
- Misread results – This may be from medical monitoring equipment, testing, observations or x-rays.
- Unnecessary surgery – This may cause undue damages to patients in distress.
Another issue that may give rise to malpractice in an emergency is a delay in medical treatment or refusal to treat a patient.
A delay in treatment may originate from the emergency room staff not assessing the seriousness of a patient’s medical issue. If the patient’s condition worsens and complicates the medical problem, the hospital may be liable.
If a patient is turned away by a hospital that receives Medicare funding, it may be sued for refusal to treat the patient. Patients are protected by the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), which requires emergency rooms to treat individuals regardless of their ability to pay.
If medical malpractice occurs during an emergency, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals working in the hospital may be held liable for negligent behavior. Even the hospital itself may be held liable for a doctor’s negligence.
In an ER malpractice case, a patient may cite the hospital as a defendant in a lawsuit whether the doctor is an independent contractor or if employed by the hospital. This is because the patient was seeking care from the facility and not a particular physician or healthcare professional. Therefore, the hospital may be named as a responsible party in the negligent care.
Elements of a Strong Medical Malpractice Case
In a CNN article on when to sue for malpractice, neurosurgeon and Medical Justice Founder, Dr. Jeff Segal, identified five elements that make a strong malpractice case.
These five elements include:
- if substandard care causes you harm;
- if you do not receive information or other type of communication from the medical professional after a medical situation goes wrong;
- if there is a delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis of a treatable medical issue that worsens;
- if you sustained serious or permanent damage from a low-risk procedure; and
- if ongoing medical care is required as a result of an injury or complication caused by a treating health care provider.
Talk to a Long Island Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you’re a victim of malpractice, the Long Island medical malpractice lawyers at Gacovino, Lake & Associates will aggressively defend your rights as a patient. We will help you recover just compensation for the negligence practiced by a healthcare provider. Schedule your no obligation consultation today by calling 800-246-4878.