In a hospital emergency department, doctors treat a wide variety of health conditions. Emergency medicine physicians will treat patients for conditions that range from routine health problems to life threatening health crises. Upon entering the emergency department of a hospital, a patient is assessed by a triage nurse, who determines the level of seriousness of the patient’s condition, prioritizing patients who have serious or life threatening conditions. Typically, the triage nurse or another nurse will take the patient’s vital signs, take the patient’s history, and provide this information to a physician who will then take an additional history from the patient, physically examine the patient, and issue orders for tests or medications. Sometimes the emergency physician will admit the patient into the hospital for observation and perhaps order consultations with physicians of another medical specialty.
Medical Malpractice in a Hospital Emergency Department
Standard of Care in the ER
Under the law, emergency medicine physicians are required to provide care that is to be expected from a reasonable and careful physician of their medical specialty acting under the same circumstances. If an emergency physician fails to provide such care and the patient has sustained injury by reason of the physician’s failure, this can provide the basis for a medical malpractice case.
Examples of ER Malpractice
Emergency physicians may improperly diagnose, improperly treat, or improperly discharge patients. Examples of medical errors that may occur in the emergency department setting include:
- Failure to diagnose and treat a health issue correctly, such as a stroke, heart attack, or serious infection such that the patient sustains injury
- Failure to order proper medical tests
- Failing to admit into the hospital a patient who requires prompt or immediate treatment with the result that the patient then experiences a substantial worsening of his/her condition
Proving Malpractice in the Emergency Department
In a malpractice case arising out of care provided in a hospital emergency department the following elements of proof must be established:
- The medical care professional owed the patient a duty of care.
- The health care provider failed to provide reasonable and careful care.
- The patient suffered an injury or death.
- A causal connection exists between the health care professional’s misconduct or negligence and the patient’s injury or death.
If you or a loved one have sustained a serious injury due to medical malpractice in a hospital emergency department, contact Dempsey Kingsland Osteen. Our experienced attorneys aided by an outstanding medical team will prepare your case if we accept it. You may contact us at (816) 484-3776 or click here to complete our online contact form. Alternatively, you can contact us by using our chatline.
We have a long record of success in medical cases including cases involving emergency departments that can make the difference in whether your case is successfully resolved.