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What Is Emergency Room Malpractice?

Emergency room malpractice occurs when medical professionals in an emergency department fail to provide the standard of care expected in emergency medical situations, leading to patient harm.

The fast-paced, high-pressure environment of emergency rooms (ERs) often presents unique challenges, but this does not exempt healthcare providers from their duty to deliver competent care. When this duty is breached through negligence or substandard practices, it can result in serious injury or even death.

What is the Standard of Care?

The standard of care in the medical field refers to the level of competence and care that a reasonably skilled healthcare professional, with a similar background and in similar circumstances, would provide. In the context of an ER, this means promptly and accurately diagnosing and treating patients to prevent harm. Failure to meet this standard can constitute malpractice.

Types of ER Malpractice

Several types of errors commonly occur in emergency rooms, potentially leading to malpractice claims:

Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis

One of the most frequent forms of ER malpractice is the failure to correctly diagnose a patient’s condition in a timely manner. This is often due to overlooking symptoms, misinterpreting test results, or failing to order necessary tests. For example, misdiagnosing a heart attack as indigestion can delay life-saving treatment.

Medication Errors

Administering the wrong medication, incorrect dosages, or failing to check for allergies can have severe consequences. Medication errors can cause adverse reactions, worsening conditions, or even fatalities.

Failure to Triage Appropriately

Triage is the process of prioritizing patients based on the severity of their conditions. Failing to correctly triage a patient can delay critical treatment for those in urgent need.

Improper Treatment

This includes incorrectly or inadequately treating a diagnosed condition. For instance, providing insufficient care for a severe injury or failing to stabilize a patient properly before transfer can constitute malpractice.

Inadequate Monitoring

After initial treatment, patients require monitoring to ensure they are stable and responding to treatment. Neglecting this can lead to severe complications.

Common Causes of ER Malpractice

Various factors can contribute to malpractice in an ER, including:

Emergency Room Malpractice Claims

Patients who suffer harm due to ER malpractice have the right to file a medical malpractice claim for compensation. To establish that a healthcare provider was negligent requires proving the following:

Patients may be able to recover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related damages. If you or a loved one has been harmed, speak to a trusted New York medical malpractice attorney to discuss your rights in a free consultation.