Hospital emergency departments are often very busy and crowded. The number of people visiting emergency rooms has increased significantly over the last twenty years. In fact, in 2018, 21.3% of all adults in the United States visited a hospital emergency room.
The most common reasons for emergency room visits are headaches, broken bones, upper respiratory infections, abdominal pain, and chest pains. While many patients are brought by ambulance, the majority are walk in-patients. Many of the injuries and conditions are minor in nature, but physicians must evaluate all patients to make a prompt and accurate diagnosis.
Emergency room doctors are a vital part of the health care industry and are often the point person for initialing directing a patient’s care and treatment. They have a vital role in our healthcare system. However, there are sad occasions when patients suffer injuries or even death due to errors in the emergency department.
When these medical mistakes happen, the injured patient may have an emergency room doctor malpractice lawsuit. Quite often, it is the failure to order appropriate diagnostic testing or not admitting the patient to the hospital that is the critical error. A misdiagnosis can lead to severe and even fatal consequences in many cases.
Some of the most common errors against emergency room doctors that are alleged in medical malpractice lawsuits include the failure to diagnose these conditions:
• Heart attacks
• Brain bleeds
• Spina cord injuries or impingements
• Bone fractures
• Ruptured appendix
• Problems with pregnancies
• Meningitis and other infections
To successfully pursue a case, it is necessary to retain an attorney experienced with medical malpractice lawsuits. These cases require significant medical and legal knowledge and few attorneys possess both areas of expertise. Qualified attorneys know which expert witnesses to hire and how to counter the defenses of insurance company lawyers.
In order to win a case, the patient must prove that the doctors failed to act in a manner as a reasonably prudent doctor would do under the same or similar circumstances. Essentially, this translates into making mistakes in diagnosis, treatment, and judgment that a well-trained and experienced physician would not make on the patient or a similar patient.
The patient must also prove that the resulting injury or harm would not have occurred had appropriate treatment been provided. So, there are cases where the negligence occurred but the end result to the patient would have been the same even with proper treatment.
For example, a doctor may have sent a patient home with a ruptured appendix, which is likely negligence, but the treatment would have been surgery anyway. So, if the patient did not suffer additional physical harm, then there would be no case. Defense lawyers often argue that there was no negligence and there was no harm caused even if there was negligence.
Medical experts are often the key to winning the case. Each side hires medical experts to support their positions in the case. Quite often, it becomes a battle of the experts and the jury must decide which set of experts is most credible and believable.
When these mistakes happen, the injured patient may have an emergency room doctor malpractice lawsuit. Emergency room physicians can also be negligent by failing to admit the patient to the hospital or to consult with another specialist.