Emergency Room Medical Malpractice Attorney in Philadelphia, PA
Patients who receive treatment in emergency rooms are particularly vulnerable when a doctor makes a mistake. A 2016 study found medical errors were the third leading cause of death in the United States. Doctors should be held to a high standard, as their decisions mean life or death.
If you, a loved one, or your child, suffered from a life-threatening complication due to medical negligence, you should call am ER malpractice attorney. The Villari Firm is home to the best Philadelphia med mal attorneys and they can help you find justice and recover compensation for your suffering. Call us today to schedule a consultation with our esteemed Philadelphia emergency room medical malpractice attorney!
In this article, you will find answers to the following questions:
- What is medical negligence in the ER?
- What does emergency room medical negligence commonly look like?
- What do you need to prove emergency room medical malpractice?
- Who can be held liable in an ER medical malpractice claim?
- Why should you hire a medical malpractice attorney?
- Where can you find an experienced Philadelphia medical negligence attorney?
If you believe your loved one was not provided with the best medical care, contact The Villari Firm, PLLC for a free consultation. Call 267-388-9429.
What is Medical Negligence In The Emergency Room?
Doctors who practice emergency medicine must make quick decisions regarding how to treat their patients. Sadly, some doctors provide treatment that violate the applicable standard of care. Depending on the severity of the error, a doctor or healthcare professional may be liable for committing regular hospital negligence or gross negligence.
Gross Medical Negligence
Gross negligence is defined as careless, reckless, or intentional behavior. Stated simply, gross negligence is an error that goes beyond making a simple mistake. Gross medical negligence by a doctor includes treating patients while intoxicated or prescribing a drug despite information in a patient’s medical history indicating the patient is allergic to the drug.
Regular Medical Negligence
An emergency room doctor who makes a simple mistake may not have committed emergency room malpractice. Instead, malpractice or medical negligence occurs when a doctor’s actions are inconsistent with the applicable standard of care.
Call 267-388-9429 to speak to our experienced trial lawyer to find out if your emergency room medical malpractice qualify for compensation!
What Are The Common Emergency Room Mistakes?
Emergency rooms are chaotic environments. Unfortunately, medical professionals can make mistakes and may provide substandard medical care, which can rise to the level of medical malpractice.
One of the core skills a doctor must learn is the ability to diagnose a patient’s illness or injury properly. Your doctor cannot provide proper treatment if he cannot determine your illness or injury. A misdiagnosis can then lead to your injury or illness worsening.
Diagnostic errors may occur when the medical professional fails to:
- Properly read your medical chart or review your medical history
- Order necessary medical tests
- Order essential medical tests on time
- Order consultations by other medical specialists
- Recognize life-threatening illnesses
- Properly interpret lab results
A delayed diagnosis error is another type of emergency room error. This occurs when a doctor fails to identify an injury or illness in a timely fashion. Delayed diagnosis errors frequently occur in emergency rooms because doctors become easily overwhelmed and fail to give proper attention to their patients.
Across the US, patients seeking medical attention in emergency rooms are made to wait more than an hour and a half before being taken to their room.
On average, patients who have sustained a broken bone injury wait 54 minutes before receiving any pain medication.
Not every delay in receiving emergency room treatment qualifies as negligence or medical malpractice; cases in which a patient is not adequately stabilized or suffers further complications due to the delay in treatment may constitute medical negligence and be open to a medical malpractice lawsuit.
The sterility of an emergency room must be maintained to prevent sick patients from becoming infected with dangerous diseases. Patients often suffer infections because hospitals fail to disinfect emergency rooms. Secondary infections can exacerbate a patient’s injury or illness.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on any given day in the United States, 1 in 31 hospital patients has at least one hospital-acquired infection. This number seems high with an emphasis on hand-washing and sterilization of instruments and surfaces.
Many illnesses can be treated orally or intravenously administered drugs or antibiotics. Unfortunately, patients sometimes suffer injuries because doctors negligently administer medications that cause adverse reactions. Other common medication errors include excessive or insufficient dosages.
Before the development of modern medications, doctors could only offer sick patients palliative care. While medications allow doctors to treat underlying diseases and medical conditions without having to perform complicated and potentially dangerous surgeries, medication errors can cause patients to suffer serious injuries. A 2020 study by Patient Safety found that medication errors were the second most type of medical error in Pennsylvania.
Like medication errors, doctors injure vulnerable patients when they administer incorrect anesthesia, which can cause adverse effects if they take other drugs or medications. Similarly, they may negligently prescribe excessive doses of anesthesia, which can cause patients to overdose. Finally, they can injure patients by prescribing anesthesia and negligently failing to monitor the patient’s vital signs.
Pregnant women often seek medical treatment at emergency rooms if they suddenly go into labor. Due to the high-stress nature of labor and delivery procedures, doctors commit malpractice by failing to use proper procedures or delaying performing cesarean sections. As a result, children can suffer serious physical injuries resulting in permanent physical or developmental disabilities.
Improper Prenatal Care
Women often require various types of medical treatment during pregnancy. Sometimes, pregnant women require emergency medical care. Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable if a doctor fails to render a proper diagnosis or negligently administers incorrect medication.
Delayed Or Failure To Treat A Medical Condition
A common complaint about emergency rooms is the time they must wait before meeting or receiving treatment from a medical professional. Even when injured patients meet with a medical professional in a timely fashion, sometimes there is a delay before they receive an essential medical procedure or medication. These delays can exacerbate a patient’s injury or cause a patient’s death.
Contaminated Blood Or Wrong Blood Type Transfusions
Blood transfusions are routine but life-saving procedures. Patients with severe injuries usually need a blood transfusion to replace lost blood. Transfusing the incorrect type of blood or transfusing blood contaminated with an infectious disease can harm or kill a patient.
Misreading Test Results Or Not Ordering The Right Tests
Some illnesses can only be diagnosed and treated after various tests such as MRI, CT, or blood tests. Common error doctors make is failing to order the proper test or misinterpreting the results of a test. These errors can leave a potentially fatal condition undetected and untreated.
Lab & Paperwork Mistakes
Lab errors can be especially deadly for patients seeking treatment in emergency rooms. Patients can suffer injuries because hospital labs use contaminated samples or improperly calibrated equipment. Additionally, incorrect information may be noted in a patient’s file or vice versa.
Refusing a Patient
The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act specifically prohibits hospitals that receive Medicare payments from discharging or refusing to treat patients because of their inability to pay. Despite this law, “patient dumping” still occurs. Before discharging a patient, a doctor must provide reasonable notice and sufficient time for the patient to find another doctor.
Failure to Follow-Up
Some patients require follow-up care after receiving emergency medical treatment. For example, doctors need to monitor the status of a patient’s injuries and/or the consumption of a drug or medication. Patients that fail to receive proper follow-up care are at high risk of suffering additional injuries or death
How Do I Prove Emergency Room Malpractice in Pennsylvania?
People depend on emergency rooms to provide timely care to those suffering from urgent illness and injury. Seeking out emergency room care should not result in unreasonable delays in treatment and subsequent patient injury and harm.
The Villari Firm’s ER medical malpractice lawyers can help you file a lawsuit and recover the compensation you deserve.
To win a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must prove all the elements of your claim by a preponderance of the evidence, i.e., 51%. Unlike regular personal injury claims, Pennsylvania Law requires a certificate of merit to be filed with a medical malpractice lawsuit.
A certificate of merit is prepared by a medical provider who practices the same type of medicine as the negligent doctor and must identify the applicable standard of care and how the negligent doctor breached this standard.
Finally, testimony by an expert medical witness, typically the same doctor who wrote the certificate or merit, is required at trial.
Here are the elements you have to prove to prevail in your malpractice case:
- Duty of Care: You have to show that you were owed a legal duty of care.
- Breach of Duty: You have to demonstrate that there was action or inaction that did not follow the standard of care you were owed.
- Damages: You have to show that the breach of duty somehow harmed you.
The first element is usually not too difficult to prove in ER cases, as the doctor-patient relationship is enough evidence. The problem is the other two.
How Can I Demonstrate Breach of Duty?
In the ER, doctors must sometimes make split-second decisions on how to provide emergency medical care. Despite the intense nature of emergency rooms, doctors must still provide medical care which satisfies the standard of care for doctors who practice emergency medicine. Doctors who breach this standard and misdiagnose an ER patient may be liable for medical malpractice.
To prove a breach of duty, you have to show that a medical professional of the same specialization would not have made the same mistake under the same circumstances.
The Villari Firm has an extensive network of experts and specialists who will be invaluable in proving a breach of duty. Call our Philadelphia law office today to talk about your malpractice case!
How Can I Prove Harm in an ER Malpractice Claim in Pennsylvania?
Proving harm from a breach of duty in the ER can be complicated and requires a lawyer experienced in these types of malpractice cases. Often, even if a hospital or doctor acknowledges the medical mistake, they will claim the delay did not result in any harm, and the patient would have had the same outcome.
Your ER med mal lawyer needs to employ the testimony of well-credentialed, expert witnesses who will attest that a competent medical professional would have prevented you from suffering injury or even death.
You also have to show that you suffered harm from the breach. Pennsylvania law allows you to claim economic and non-economic damages.
- Economic damages include your past and future medical expenses and past and future lost wages.
- Non-economic damages include the pain and suffering you endured. Here are some types of damages that can result from ER mistakes.
Pain And Suffering
Pain and suffering refer to a patient’s physical and mental suffering due to delayed treatment and subsequent injury or harm.
- Physical pain is often easy for a plaintiff to recognize and describe.
- Mental suffering may be less obvious but is no less serious and can include stress, anxiety, depression, loss of ability to enjoy life, loss of consortium, and loss of function secondary to the injury.
Lost Earning Capacity
Lost earning capacity refers to the tangible and calculable decrease in a plaintiff’s ability to earn income. It is also referred to as loss of future earnings, impairment of earning power, or future loss of earnings. Whereas lost wages or lost earnings refer to earnings that have already been lost in the past, lost earning capacity refers to future and potentially ongoing loss.
A medical complication is an unexpected outcome that arises out of treatment. Not all complications are the result of medical malpractice. Still, if they are the result of the negligence of the healthcare workers, then they may be actionable and considered part of the harm suffered by a patient.
A delay in emergency room treatment can result in significant harm and injury for a patient, including death. In one Philadelphia area case, a man died from a heart attack in an emergency room waiting area while waiting to be seen for abdominal pain.
As you can see, there are many elements to consider when filing a medical malpractice claim.
Who Can Be Held Liable in a Pennsylvania Emergency Room Malpractice Claim?
A doctor is responsible for treating your illness. Despite scientific advancement, many aspects of human health remain a mystery. Not all mistakes in the ER can be the subject of a medical malpractice claim. However, if your doctor did not meet the expected standard of care, you may be entitled to compensation.
Doctors often rely on nurses to treat injured patients. However, nurses are not infallible and can harm their patients if they are negligent in their duties.
Pharmacy / Pharmacist
Pharmacies and pharmacists often commit similar errors to doctors and nurses by dispensing the incorrect types of medications. Similarly, pharmacies and pharmacists sometimes dispense medications to the wrong patients. Finally, pharmacies and pharmacists sometimes harm patients by negligently mixing potentially lethal drug combinations.
People mistakenly believe medications prescribed by doctors are safe due to the number of regulations and testing mandated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Unfortunately, the FDA does not test medications but instead relies on studies and testing performed by pharmaceutical companies. The harmful effects of negligently designed or manufactured medications do not become known until they are released on the open market.
Why Do I Need an Emergency Room Medical Malpractice Attorney in Philadelphia?
At The Villari Firm, our ER medical malpractice attorneys look into misdiagnoses, emergency department errors, and general negligence that cause injuries and fatalities. They are dedicated to determining who or what is at fault so that we may fully compensate our clients for their suffering.
Our Philadelphia lawyers have a wealth of expertise in defending patients against negligent emergency departments and medical care.
We know how to examine medical malpractice, how doctors try to deflect responsibility, and what records to request and examine. We can support your efforts to seek justice and recover unpaid damages.
Call our Experienced Philadelphia Emergency Room Medical Malpractice Lawyer Now!
Emergency rooms are often chaotic, which can result in many mistakes being made there. Emergency room medical malpractice claims may be brought when doctors, nurses, surgeons, general hospital personnel, and/or paramedics fail their duty to patients and cause injury.
It is not surprising that 30% of emergency room medical malpractice cases are filed due to misdiagnosis, as staff members treat patients like statistics to get them in and out as soon as possible. This is owing to overworked staff members and understaffed facilities.
Even yet, emergency room mistakes are never acceptable, and you may be entitled to financial compensation if you or a loved one were hurt. Get in touch with The Villari Firm today. It’s time to speak up regarding your injuries and talk to a reliable Philadelphia emergency room medical malpractice lawyer to receive legal advice.
There are no fees unless/until we recover compensation for you. Call 267-388-9429 or contact us online to get started with a free case review today.