A doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional who chooses to work in an emergency room must be able to remain calm and focused in a high stress and sometimes chaotic environment. A job in an emergency room is not a choice for anyone lacking the passion and temperament for this essential but demanding line of work. Once that choice is made, the emergency medical professional owes every patient who comes through the door a high duty of care.
When patients come to an emergency room, doctors and nurses need to make life and death decisions, from determining which patients most seriously need of attention to diagnosis, to emergency treatment and the decision whether to admit, release, or transfer a patient. Emergency room doctors have to make fast and accurate judgments that often determine if the patient will live or die. A mistake can be disastrous, and unfortunately, mistakes do happen.
Doctors are not infallible, and they sometimes are called upon to make difficult decisions. Sometimes a doctor will use well informed medical judgment in an emergency situation, but the outcome will be unfavorable. Is this malpractice? What does malpractice mean?
Defining Medical Malpractice
If a doctor has done what any competent physician would have done under similar circumstances, the fact that the outcome is not what was hoped for does not mean malpractice was committed. Adverse events can arise from complications that no one could have anticipated. On the other hand, when the unfavorable outcome is the result of the patient receiving substandard care in the emergency room, the patient might well have a claim to recover damages for the harm done. When a licensed medical professional fails to deliver the standard of care expected from any 21st century emergency room doctor in California faced with similar symptoms and conditions, malpractice should be considered.
Emergency Room Errors that Can Involve Malpractice
- Excessive delay in examining patient
- Triage errors
- Failing to take a complete medical history
- Failing to perform appropriate diagnostic tests
- Improperly interpreting scans and test results
- Failing to inform patient of test results
- Failing to inform the patient what must be done next, regarding medication, wound treatment, or following up visits
- Failing to consult with appropriate specialists
- Ignoring or overlooking a stated food or drug allergy
- Failing to process medication orders correctly
Experienced Bay Area Malpractice Lawyers
If you feel that your treatment in an emergency room was substandard and you suffered harm as a result, or if someone in your family died after receiving improper care in an emergency room, you should obtain the medical records and take them with you to the office of an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
At Abronson Law Offices, we have extensive experience in evaluating medical malpractice claims, and we have relationships with medical experts to review the records and identify where treatment deviated from standard and draw the connection between that deviation and the harm that resulted. We know how to handle medical malpractice insurance companies and their representatives, and can sometimes negotiate an appropriate settlement out of court. If not, we’ll never hesitate to put your case before a jury when necessary, and we have the skills and determination to present a meticulously prepared case, every time.
To find out if you have a case for emergency room malpractice, contact Abronson Law Offices today to schedule a consultation.