Emergency Room Malpractice
Written by Cooper & Friedman PLLC on June 23, 2021
Emergency rooms (ERs) are fast-paced, high-pressure spaces. Medical staff have to handle a constant influx of new patients, suffering from every type of illness and injury, from relatively minor to life-threatening. Emergency room malpractice is a legitimate concern for patients. Unfortunately, the ER environment heightens the risk of medical mistakes and malpractice; studies have shown that 20% of medical errors occur in emergency rooms. Anyone can be a victim of medical negligence in the emergency room, and deserves proper financial compensation if so. Follow along for a better understanding of the types of things that can go wrong in an emergency room environment.
Common Emergency Room Errors
- Failure to diagnose a fracture or dislocation
- Failure to diagnose a foreign body in a wound
- Medication errors
- Failure to diagnose complications of lacerations, including tendon or nerve damage
- Failure to diagnose and treat myocardial infarction
- Failure to diagnose appendicitis
- Failure to diagnose meningitis
- Anesthesia errors
- Failure to diagnose skull or facial fracture
- Failure to diagnose ectopic pregnancy
- A failure to diagnose ruptured spleen, liver or other viscus
- Failure to diagnose respiratory obstruction
- A failure to order correct tests
These errors can be caused by a number of factors. A very common one involves something as simple as communication breakdown and inadequate information flow between medical practitioners and facilities. Staff may also fail to follow procedure or follow through with proper documentation. Many errors happen between 6pm and 1am on weekends and holidays, when facilities are more likely to be understaffed and overwhelmed. Shift changes, language barriers- -whatever the cause, these mistakes are rarely intentional, and usually belong in the realm of civil court rather than criminal court.
In order to establish a medical malpractice claim, you must prove three basic elements:
1. What the doctor should have done, as held by medical standard. By proving that you did have some form of doctor-patient relationship, you establish that the doctor owed you a certain standard of care, which they failed to meet.
2. Establishing negligence: what the doctor did wrong, how they breached the medical standard of care. Proving their negligence can be difficult, as the expectations and also standard of “proper care” varies by circumstance. This may require providing an expert witness like another doctor or someone familiar with the medical field, who can help support your argument.
3. How you suffered harm as a result of the doctor’s malpractice. This may include long-term damages, such as loss of income, and also pain and suffering, etc. You must also prove your injuries through witnesses and documentation.
Compensation for Emergency Room Malpractice
In Kentucky, there’s no cap on the amount of compensation you can receive. In Indiana, there’s a $1.8 million cap. Some areas you can receive compensation form are current/future medical bills, disability payments, rehabilitation, pain and also suffering, burial expenses, lost wages, psychological suffering (from losing a loved one), and more. When it comes to medical malpractice, the vast majority of claims are settled before they even reach court, meaning that you most likely will work with an attorney to reach a deal with the defendant.
Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, and they increase in number every year. If you or a loved one is suffering due to medical malpractice, don’t hesitate to contact us. The statute of limitations in Kentucky is one year, meaning that you have a year to pursue legal action after the accident occurs. Don’t wait–you deserve compensation.
If you or someone you love is the victim of an emergency room accident, or some other type of medical malpractice, the experienced injury attorneys at Cooper and Friedman PLLC can help. Our team has been fighting for the rights of injury victims across the state of Kentucky and southern Indiana since 1991. All partners of Cooper & Friedman, PLLC are also members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, recognized as one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members. For additional information, or to schedule a free case consultation with an attorney, give Cooper and Friedman PLLC a call at 502-459-7555.