Every year, more than 140 million Americans visit an emergency room for treatment. Of these, only about 8.7% are admitted to a hospital. Most ER patients are seen, diagnosed and treated quickly. This may lead to various medication errors and misdiagnosis. When emergency room errors or misdiagnosis are a direct result of a physician’s negligence, you may have a valid case for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Every year, nearly 5% to 10% of emergency room visits involve medical errors. These errors may range from minor to life-threatening, including misdiagnosis, wrong treatment and harmful medication. If you have faced any such errors at an ER, you may be entitled to malpractice damages. However, you must prove the following aspects of the malpractice when seeking damages.
The first element of demonstrating emergency room error or malpractice is to prove that a doctor-patient relationship existed. This proof shows that the patient who is suing and the physician who is being sued interacted in a reasonably relevant way.
Typically, when a doctor treats a patient upon arrival in the emergency room, a doctor-patient relationship is established. This relationship also demonstrates that the doctor was ultimately responsible for the treatment of the patient. Proof of admittance to the emergency room and treatment charts are typically enough to establish this relationship in a court.
Negligence in Emergency Room Errors
In most medical malpractice cases, the court determines if a doctor provided standard of care at par with the average quality of care provided by other doctors in a similar situation. However, the treatment scenarios in an emergency room may differ from regular treatment. And this is why proving a breach of standard of care or negligence is a little complex.
In an emergency room, a doctor is under a lot of pressure to provide timely aid and assistance to the patients. This is why a court may grant some leeway to such a doctor in the treatment of patients.
For instance, consider this scenario: if a patient has chest pain, an emergency room doctor may perform a few preliminary tests. Based on the results, the doctor may suggest medication and recommend seeing a specialist if the pain doesn’t go away. The patient later sees a specialist and learns that he has a heart problem. In such a case, the emergency room physician will very likely be safe from malpractice lawsuits. On the other hand, if a specialist were to make such a misdiagnosis, he or she will be more vulnerable to malpractice litigation.
Malpractice in emergency room errors constitutes of the same elements as standard malpractice. A patient must show that a breach of standard of care has taken place. This essentially means that the ER doctor didn’t act as most other ER doctors would have acted under similar circumstances.
If you are not sure that your treating physician in ER committed negligence, it is best to consult a medical malpractice lawyer in Lakeland, FL. A good lawyer will also help you solicit expert medical testimony to back up your lawsuit.
Harm or Injury Caused by Negligence
Once a patient-doctor relationship is established and the doctor’s negligence is demonstrated, a third element is required. You must show that the negligence of the doctor directly harmed you or caused an injury. Harm caused by emergency room errors may constitute:
- Pain and suffering due to misdiagnosis
- Additional medical treatment, possible corrective treatment to undo misdiagnosis
- Lost wages
- Lost ability to enjoy
In some cases, an ER doctor’s negligence may result in little to no harm. When that is the case, you may not have a sufficient cause to bring a malpractice lawsuit.
Why Do You Need an Attorney?
Most medical malpractice cases are fairly complex. This is more so for malpractice related to ER treatment where doctors have wider latitude for error compared to regular treatment scenarios. If you have suffered harm due to an ER error, it is important to consult an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will help you line up the facts, gather the relevant evidence and then file a lawsuit so that it has better odds of winning.
Hiring a Lakeland Personal Injury Lawyer About Emergency Room Errors
If you have been injured or harmed due to an ER error in Lakeland, Florida, we can help. Here at Burnetti P.A., our Lakeland personal injury lawyers specialize in handling medical malpractice lawsuits. Over the years, we have helped malpractice victims recover millions of dollars in damages from the negligent parties. Contact us today to book a FREE consultation with our clients and discuss your case in detail.