In the United States, there are roughly 136.3 million visits to hospital emergency rooms each year. Further, New York has one of the highest rates of emergency room visits, at 37 visits per 100 people per year. With emergency rooms being one of the most highly-utilized forms of medical care in the country, the demand for their services often comes at a cost. Data shows that just 27 percent of patients are seen in under 15 minutes, and that patients who are admitted to the hospital from the emergency room wait an average of 96 minutes before they are admitted. What do you do if you go to the emergency room seeking help for an injury, but are instead further harmed due to inadequate or negligent care there?
Why Do Emergency Rooms Make Mistakes?
Most of us have watched enough medical T.V. shows to get the impression that hospitals, and emergency rooms in particular, are fast-paced, high stress environments. This isn’t just a fabrication of Hollywood’s imagination. Because of the nature of the emergency room environment, miscommunication between medical personnel, or between medical personnel and patients, can occur. Emergency room medical personnel are often expected to work long shifts, which can lead to fatigue. All of this can lead to serious or deadly medical mistakes.
Do Emergency Rooms Have to Abide by Certain Standards?
Emergency rooms and critical care facilities are required to establish protocols for patient care. This can include things like ordering certain tests, providing timely treatment, and properly discharging patients. When they do not follow their protocols, or when medical personnel take shortcuts, that puts patients at risk of serious or even deadly injury, and emergency rooms can be held liable for these mistakes.
What Kinds of Emergency Room Mistakes Can I Sue For?
It’s a misconception that if you were already injured when you went into an emergency room you cannot sue for injuries that occurred while you were there. There are many kinds of mistakes emergency room personnel can make that have nothing to do with your underlying injury, which may exacerbate it or create an entirely new injury. These kinds of injuries include:
- Testing errors
- Improper performance of a procedure
- Delayed treatment
- Medication mistakes
- Improper discharge
What Do I Have to Prove to Bring an Emergency Room Negligence Claim?
First, you will have to demonstrate that the hospital in which the emergency room is located owed you duty of care while you were being treated. Next, you need to show that the hospital breached that duty, and that because of that breach you were injured. You then have to demonstrate that your injuries are “actual injuries,” meaning they are physical injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and things of that sort.
What Damages Can I Receive From an Emergency Room Negligence Claim?
The kinds of damages you can seek depend on the unique facts of each case, but generally include medical, hospital, and rehabilitation expenses; lost wages; loss of future earnings; pain and suffering; and permanent disability.
Injured by an Emergency Room Visit?
Contact Scaffidi & Associates today to discuss your options. Our medical malpractice attorneys are experienced in fighting for victims of emergency room injuries, and will help you get the compensation you deserve.
Posted in: Medical Malpractice