When you go to the emergency room, it’s because you have a severe injury and need proper care immediately. You trust medical professionals to see you in a timely manner and give you a proper diagnosis and appropriate care for your illness or injury.
Unfortunately, not every visit to the emergency room goes smoothly. Emergency room errors occur, and depending on the factors surrounding the incident, you may need to file a medical malpractice claim following your visit. Patients who receive an incorrect diagnosis or inadequate care from emergency room staff may have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Don’t Try to Manage a Medical Malpractice Claim Alone
Emergency room errors fall under the umbrella of medical malpractice law. Medical malpractice cases are difficult to prove, which means you’ll want to hire an emergency room lawyer to represent your case.
Emergency room error lawyers know how to prove your situation has the four components necessary to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. They will also work to establish the root cause of the harm you experienced and whether it resulted from an unprofessional healthcare provider or hospital negligence.
Wendt Law Firm P.C. Holds Doctors Responsible
When you work with one of our skilled Kansas City emergency room lawyers, you can feel confident that you will receive the most favorable outcome possible for your situation. Reckless healthcare providers and hospitals who employ doctors with a track record of medical mistakes must be held accountable.
As a patient who suffered an injury due to emergency malpractice, you have the right to pursue justice for the wrong done to you. Our attorneys have years of experience handling complex medical malpractice cases involving emergency room errors. We will ensure you know all your legal options and investigate your situation to build the strongest case possible.
What Causes Emergency Room Negligence?
There are many different reasons that can contribute to emergency room negligence that leads to life-changing injuries. It can be one single thing or a combination of things that lead to an accident. Causes of emergency room negligence can include:
Overcrowding or scheduling too many patients in one day
Failure to effectively monitor patients by physician
Failure to run proper tests
Failure to provide proper care
Emergency Physician Malpractice
Emergency rooms are chaotic by nature, making emergency medicine administration a difficult task. As such, the law provides more leeway to emergency medicine doctors than it does other branches of medicine. Many decisions in the emergency room are based on limited knowledge of medical history and without the luxury of time. Nevertheless, emergency physicians can be liable for damages when they violate an established standard of care.
What are the Types of Emergency Room Negligence?
While most emergency room errors are preventable, it does not make them any less likely to happen. Stress, exhaustion, dirty surgical tools, and inexperience in the operating room can all lead to injuries in the emergency room. The many types of emergency room negligence include:
Making the wrong incision
Treating the wrong body part
Damaging a nerve or the spinal cord during a procedure
Leaving surgical equipment or tools inside the body
Common Emergency Room Errors
Medical malpractice in the emergency room can cause catastrophic injuries. Since patients are coming to the emergency room for serious conditions, the results can be devastating when they aren’t given proper care.
Many medical malpractice claims stemming from emergency room malpractice involve failing to appropriately treat life-threatening conditions, causing worsening conditions or even death. Emergency room malpractice may include a doctor prescribing the wrong medication, failing to interpret test results correctly, failing to identify serious injuries, inconsistent patient monitoring, and using defective medical devices.
How Do I Prove Medical Malpractice?
To determine if you have a medical malpractice case due to mistreatment in the emergency room, you’ll need to contact Kansas City emergency room error lawyers. At Wendt Law Firm P.C., we offer a free consultation to discuss your case and the injuries you suffered. This meeting will help establish whether your situation meets the criteria needed to pursue compensatory damages for your injuries.
You may be surprised to learn that just because a procedure is unsuccessful doesn’t mean medical negligence occurred. In order to have a successful malpractice claim, your emergency room error must meet the following criteria:
You Were Owed a Duty of Care
To prove you were owed a duty of care, you must establish that a patient/doctor relationship existed between you and the doctor or doctors who injured you. Typically, this step is simple to prove in a case involving an emergency room error.
The medical professionals working in emergency rooms are committed to providing medical treatment to patients in need. You establish the necessary relationship with medical professionals by entering the hospital and seeking healthcare services.
The Medical Professionals Were Negligent
The next step in building a malpractice case is demonstrating that hospital employees were negligent in providing care. Proving negligence means showing that your care provider did not give you the standard of care that other medical professionals in the same or similar circumstances would have.
Expert witnesses are often needed to prove that your doctor didn’t meet the standard of care. These witnesses are doctors and nurses who will make a statement or testify that your care providers behaved negligently. Seasoned Kansas City emergency room lawyers will be able to find you reputable nurses and doctors to act as expert witnesses.
Standard of Care In an Emergency Room
The standard of care a healthcare provider is held to varies depending on where they are practicing. Some level of error is therefore expected in a high-stress atmosphere such as a hospital emergency room. Nurses and doctors are human, and as a result, errors can occur in fast-paced environments.
Your attorneys will help you establish that there was a failure to meet the standard of care expected for a hospital emergency room and prove negligence occurred.
You Suffered Injury or Additional Injuries as a Result
After you have determined that the care provider behaved negligently, you must be able to prove you suffered an injury because of that negligence. Since medical malpractice cases are designed to provide an injured patient with financial compensation, there must be an injury to have a case.
Emergency room error lawyers will use your medical records to prove you suffered moderate or serious injuries due to medical negligence. Patients who suffer mild injuries can still file medical malpractice claims, but typically the amount you receive as compensation will be determined by the severity of your injury and the level of negligence that occurred.
The Care Providers’ Actions Directly Caused Your Injuries
Finally, your attorneys will help you demonstrate that healthcare provider or hospital negligence was the direct cause of your injury. If hospital employees fail to meet the expected standard of care, but it did not cause harm, you cannot file a medical malpractice case and seek recompense.
Pursue Compensation From Negligent Missouri Hospitals
Medical malpractice cases are complicated for many reasons. A factor that can make pursuing compensation challenging is that not all doctors are hospital employees. Some doctors work as independent contractors, which means you may need to seek recompense from them independently of the hospital to receive the maximum compensation possible.
Even if the doctor was an independent contractor, you may still be able to hold the hospital responsible. For example, failure to appropriately screen care providers or continuing to employ practitioners even after they make medication errors, misinterpret test results, and make other dangerous mistakes can constitute hospital negligence.
Compensation For Kansas City Emergency Room Error Cases
A care provider’s error can have a life-altering impact on their patient. For example, medication errors can be fatal if the patient is given a dangerously high dose. Alternatively, the individual might not be given the prescribed medication, and their condition may worsen.
When a care provider’s failure to perform their job appropriately causes a patient injury or death, the victim, or in cases where a fatality occurs, their family members deserve compensation for their losses. An injured individual deserves to be fairly compensated for the losses the injury caused them. When compensating medical malpractice victims, there are two categories of damages victims can seek.
Losses that are difficult to put a monetary value on are called non-economic damages. The following damages are non-economic, and state law caps how much a personal injury victim can be compensated for these losses.
Pain and suffering
Loss of quality of life
Physical impairment or disability
What economic damages a victim can seek will depend on the details of their case. A victim recovering economic damages may be able to receive reimbursement for the following costs:
Current medical care and hospitalization due to the injury
Future medical care or physical therapy that is required due to the injury
Lost wages or future earning capacity
The expense of hiring someone to complete the victim’s household duties
Grounds for an Emergency Room Negligence Claim
Emergency room negligence follows the same basic rules as any other medical malpractice claim. To collect damages, the injured plaintiff must prove:
That a professional relationship existed between the doctor and the patient
That an emergency room physician, nurse, or other provider committed negligence by violating an established standard of care
Legally, the term “standard of care” refers to a level of competence that most doctors would employ given the same or similar circumstances. This is where emergency room doctors get more leeway; the standard of care is lower in a hectic environment like an emergency department compared to an office or hospital room.
Imagine, for example, that a patient reports to an emergency room with an intense headache. If the same person were to visit their primary care physician (PCP) or a neurologist, he or she might complete an in-depth differential diagnosis and order tests until the doctor finds the root cause. An emergency room, however, works on the basis of triage. They may order tests to rule out immediately life-threatening causes like meningitis or stroke, then order a follow-up with a PCP. If this patient were to receive a terminal brain cancer diagnosis six months later, the emergency room would not be negligent in its discovery – rather, they acted appropriately within their realm of practice.
On the other hand, if a child reports to an emergency room with a fever and severe abdominal pain and the physician fails to order tests that would reveal appendicitis, this may be grounds for emergency room negligence.
Contact a Kansas City Emergency Room Lawyer
Trust your emergency room malpractice case to Kansas City lawyers with extensive experience helping victims of medical negligence. When a care provider does not live up to their responsibility, they should be held responsible.
Work with a law firm that is dedicated to defending your best interests. Reach out to Wendt Law Firm P.C. at 816-542-6734 and schedule your free consultation today.