Advances in the practice of Emergency Medicine have undoubtedly saved countless lives. However, one of the more common causes of medical malpractice litigation is Emergency Room error. Chris J. Roy, Jr. APLC in Alexandria has extensive experience in malpractice law as it relates to Emergency Medicine and is always available to address your concerns regarding questions of Emergency Room error and other aspects of medical malpractice law.
What are Medical Malpractice and Malpractice Law?
Generally speaking, malpractice occurs when a health care practitioner fails to provide medical care of a quality that is consistent with the care that would have been expected of a similarly-trained practitioner in a similar clinical situation. Malpractice includes “acts of omission” (failure to perform certain actions) as well as “acts of commission” (performing the wrong, or inappropriate, actions).
Malpractice law is that part of personal injury law which deals with issues of malpractice such as: “What are the known facts in this case?” or “Does the level of care in this case constitute malpractice or merely represent an unfortunate outcome?” These and similar questions are best answered by consulting an experienced malpractice attorney.
What are Some Examples of Common Emergency Room Malpractice or Error?
According to medical malpractice lawyer Chris J. Roy, Jr. of Alexandria, Louisiana, there are certain types of Emergency Room errors that occur with alarming frequency, on both the nationwide and local levels. Such errors include:
Misreading X-Rays of Fractures and Related Injuries
A common source of error involves failure to diagnose a fracture on x-ray that is “picked up” at a later time. Another common error is the diagnosis of a fracture when there is, in fact, no injury present. Also, certain other injuries may be suggested by the presence or absence of x-ray findings and failure to order the proper additional exams is another source of error and/or malpractice.
Misinterpretation of Laboratory Tests
Misinterpretation (“misreading”) laboratory test results is another source of error. Such errors may result in the incorrect diagnosis and the associated wrong treatment of the disease that is actually present.
Misreading an EKG
There is a saying among Emergency Room personnel to the effect that “An abnormal EKG is helpful but a normal EKG doesn’t mean that the patient ISN’T having a heart attack.” Error in reading EKGs can have serious, and possibly fatal, consequences.
Failure to Stabilize and Transfer
In many cases, hospitals and Emergency Rooms are unable to provide the appropriate level of care that is necessary in many types of injury or other emergencies. In such situations the Emergency Room staff has a duty to first stabilize, to the best of their ability, the patient’s condition and to then arrange transport to a facility with the appropriate resources. Failure to perform these duties in a timely manner may result in a liability for malpractice.
Why Do I Need a Malpractice Lawyer?
Malpractice is one of the most complicated aspects of personal injury law. The preparation of the “typical” malpractice case will involve a review of all available medical records by an experts in the practice of Emergency Medicine and its related fields, determining who is actually liable for negligent acts or omissions, determination of the damages suffered by the injured party, and preparation of the case prior to trial. In addition, complex negotiations with insurance companies are often necessary. These tasks are beyond the abilities of the average citizen.