Emergency Room Errors
Emergency rooms should be the best place to seek emergency medical care when we need it most. They should be staffed with competent emergency room doctors and emergency medical technicians, and the nurses who operate as a point of contact should be well-trained and capable of handling the pressure of the environment. They should be able to analyze the oncoming flow of emergency patients and place them into an order that corresponds with the severity of their injuries.
Unfortunately, mistakes and medical errors are common in emergency departments and may happen for a range of reasons, from understaffing to negligence, and when mistakes are made, patients can pay the price.
If you have suffered further injury or aggravation of a previous condition because of the actions of an emergency room employee, you may be entitled to bring a medical malpractice case to recover your damages and pursue compensation.
Call us today to discuss your case at 410-705-2405.
Common Types of Emergency Room Errors
Common emergency room errors include:
When you are seen by the emergency room doctors on call, or when you are assessed by the nurses when you walk into the ER, it is important that they diagnose you correctly, and in a timely manner.
A delayed diagnosis happens when your medical providers fail to accurately diagnose you on time. This delay can lead to a range of problems, such as not receiving treatment in the optimal time frame.
A misdiagnosis occurs when your medical providers diagnose you incorrectly. This can lead to the wrong treatment being given and a delay in the correct treatment being given.
A misdiagnosis may happen for a number of reasons, such as a failure to carry out the right tests, failure to carry out a full evaluation of the patient's full symptoms and history, and through a simple lapse in judgment or concentration.
Due to the nature of the emergency room, decisions are often made in a quicker manner than normal. This can lead to a number of mistakes, such as mistakes involving medication errors. A medical provider may administer a medication that a patient is allergic to for example because they are in a rush to provide treatment.
Medication errors, like double dosages, wrong medication, negative interactions with current medication, or negative interactions with other conditions, can all have severe consequences.
Medication errors may happen because of inadequate training, negligence, or poor communication. All of these are grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
Failure To Carry Out Adequate Monitoring
These errors occur when your medical provider does not carry out adequate monitoring, such as a failure to send a patient for the necessary tests or imaging they need. This often means there is a delay in treatment, failure to identify serious life-threatening problems, or incorrect treatment.
This error can be caused by a lack of knowledge or experience, failure to properly evaluate a patient's symptoms and medical history, or failure to follow established protocols.
If you have been rushed into surgery after admitting yourself to the ER, it is important that the surgeons on call follow the standard medical practices and act with due care and attention. Surgical errors can occur when a surgeon makes a mistake during a surgical procedure Surgical errors may result in serious harm to the patient, dangerous infections, or even the patient's death in the most tragic of cases.
Surgical errors can be caused by negligence, fatigue, inadequate training, poor communication, or a failure to follow established protocols.
Misreading or Ignoring Laboratory Results
Another common emergency room mistake occurs when the medical providers on call misinterpret or fail to act on abnormal laboratory results, such as blood tests or imaging studies.
When results are misread, it can lead to delayed treatment, incorrect treatment, or failure to identify serious medical conditions. This can occur because the staff has a lack of knowledge or experience or because of a lack of communication.
Failure to Take a Complete Patient History
One common emergency room error is failing to obtain and read a full and comprehensive patient history. Medical providers should make sure they have a full medical history of the patient to prevent mistakes such as misdiagnosis and the failure to note an allergy, previous condition, or current medication that may interact with a new medication or treatment.
Failure to take a complete patient history can be caused by inadequate training or experience, insufficient time or resources, or a failure to follow established protocols.
When patients are receiving treatment in the emergency department, they should be monitored strictly. Things like vital signs and other indicators of their condition, including heart rate and blood pressure, must be checked often for any changes that indicate the need for immediate medical care or medical treatment.
A failure to monitor a patient's vital signs can result in delayed treatment or failure to identify serious medical complications.
Inadequate monitoring of patients can be caused by insufficient staffing, bad communication, or a failure to follow established standards.
Infection Control Issues
Emergency rooms should have strict infection control protocols in place. This includes protocols for hand hygiene, sterilization of equipment, or use of personal protective equipment.
Negligence when it comes to infection control can lead to the spread of infectious diseases that can pose serious health risks to vulnerable patients.
Discharging a Patient Too Early
If a patient is discharged too early, before their condition stabilizes or receives the necessary treatment, it can result in serious harm or even death. Discharging a patient too early can be caused by an incorrect diagnosis, inadequate staffing, poor communication, or a failure to follow established practices.
Failure to Consult with Specialists or Transfer Patients to a Higher Level of Care
Failure to consult with specialists or transfer patients to a higher level of care occurs when a medical provider fails to seek advice from specialists or transfer a patient to a higher level of care when it becomes necessary. This can result in delayed treatment, incorrect treatment, or failure to identify serious medical conditions.
This may be caused by a lack of knowledge or experience, insufficient resources, or a failure to follow established protocols.
How a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help
When you have been the victim of an emergency room error, we recommend that you contact a medical malpractice attorney, like those here at Peter Angelos Law. We handle medical malpractice cases on a regular basis and have a comprehensive knowledge of the laws and processes you will need to follow to pursue compensation for your injuries.
We work on a contingency fee basis, allowing us to work for patients for no up-front costs. We don't charge upfront to represent victims, giving them the opportunity to pursue their case with confidence and without fear of what happens if they lose. We only take our fees if your case is successful, and the fees will be a flat percentage of what we can win you, meaning you will never be left out of pocket.
Once you agree to representation, your attorney can begin their investigation of your case. They will access your medical records and talk your case over with medical experts who may provide testimonials on your behalf. They will look at what happened to you during your stay in the emergency room in detail.
With your attorney, they will look at what happened and assess if medical malpractice occurred and how. If the medical providers who were responsible for looking after you during your stay in the emergency room acted in a way that fell below the standard of care they owed you and caused you harm, you likely have a case.
Calculation of Damages
Your attorney will need to work out what your damages are worth so they have a figure that they can negotiate with. To calculate your total damages, your attorney will need to look at your economic damages, which are the damages that will or have cost you money. These include your medical bills, medical expenses, and lost wages.
They will then look at your pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life, which are your non-economic damages. These damages are subjective, meaning that your attorney will need to place a value on them.
Pain and suffering damages are to compensate you for the physical pain, and emotional trauma of the ordeal, and loss of enjoyment of life are damages to compensate you for how the incident has affected your enjoyment of life. If you can no longer do the things you love, you deserve to be compensated for this.
Negotiation of Settlement
Once your attorney has calculated your damages, they will have a sum that they can use in a settlement offer. They will speak to the other party and their insurance, and tell them that you would be happy to settle for this amount.
Likely, the other party will want to negotiate and will send their counteroffer. Your attorney will then work on negotiation of a settlement that falls between your offer and their offer but is still fair and reasonable.
If they cannot come to a fair and reasonable settlement with the other party and their legal team, then it may be necessary to escalate your case and pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit in court.
Litigation in Court if Necessary
Your attorney will now need to pursue legal action on behalf of the injured patient to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
This is one of the reasons why it is crucial that you choose a law firm that has a team of attorneys who are skilled litigators and trial lawyers as well as negotiators. This ensures that your legal representation is equipped to handle your case, no matter what direction it takes.
Your attorney will use the evidence you have provided and they have uncovered themselves, the medical experts' testimonials, and any other relevant information to build a strong case to present in front of the Judge and jury.
Emergency Room Errors FAQ
What is medical malpractice in an emergency room?
Medical malpractice in the emergency room occurs when a patient is injured or suffers a further aggravation of their condition because of the negligence of the emergency room employees.
What kind of damages can I recover in an emergency room medical malpractice case?
It depends upon your case but you may be entitled to recover your medical bills and expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life damages.
How long do I have to file a medical malpractice claim for an emergency room error in Maryland?
The statute of limitations, which is a legal time limit for filing malpractice claims in Maryland states that you have 3 years from the date of the incident or 3 years from the date of discovery of the injuries but not more than 5 years from the date of the incident in the second case.
How can I prove that medical malpractice occurred in an emergency room?
To prove medical malpractice occurred in an emergency room requires you and your attorney to demonstrate that the medical provider failed to provide the appropriate standard of care that they owed you and that their failure caused harm to the patient.
Call Peter Angelos Law Today!
If you have been admitted to an ER and have suffered further injury or have been left too long in the emergency room, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim. To discuss your case with a law firm that handles medical malpractice cases on a regular basis and has a long history of successful cases, call Peter Angelos Law today!
You can reach us at 410-705-2405.