Working in an emergency room is not for everyone. Doctors, physicians, and nurses working in emergency rooms must be able to make fast decisions on matters of life and death in an often stress-filled, chaotic, and faced-paced environment. Hospitals must hire nurses, doctors, and other professionals capable of performing well and delivering high-level care under these demanding situations. If mistakes occur in the emergency room and you receive improper treatment, you are misdiagnosed, or you suffer harm due to a medical mistake, you could file a medical malpractice claim against the hospital and the medical professionals to seek compensation for your damages. If you or your loved one falls victim to medical malpractice, the Phoenix Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm can help you file a claim to seek compensation.

Common Mistakes In The Emergency Room

Any time you visit an emergency room, you have the right to the same high level of care you would receive from any other healthcare professional or doctor. You expect to undergo proper imaging and tests. You also expect to receive the correct diagnosis and appropriate medications and the emergency room personnel to inform you what procedures and tests you must undergo and give detailed follow-up instructions. If necessary, the doctor should admit you to the hospital for further treatment.

However, medical mistakes often happen in emergency rooms, making patients suffer extensive damages, some of which are irreversible. The common mistakes that occur in the emergency room include the following:

  • Errors of commission caused by inappropriate actions like misdiagnosing an illness or prescribing the wrong medication.
  • Errors of omission resulting from appropriate actions not taken, like delaying medical treatment or failing to check records outlining the victim’s allergies before giving a medication.

Medical experts sometimes do not report mistakes because of fear of repercussions, like disciplinary actions. If a medical expert fails to report an error, your injury could worsen.

Emergency room mistakes are common in Phoenix, with many patients suffering harm or fatalities each year. Negligence and carelessness could occur even in the best hospitals. The most common mistakes in the emergency room include the following:

  • Failing to provide follow-up instructions to the patient.
  • Failing to notify the patient of test findings.
  • Medical errors.
  • Misreading or misinterpreting test findings.
  • Failing to order appropriate tests.
  • Overlooking essential information given when taking a medical history, like a drug allergy.
  • Failure to obtain a thorough medical history.
  • Triage mistakes.
  • Diagnostic mistakes include delayed diagnosis, misjudging symptoms, and wrong diagnosis by a non-physician.

Effects Of An Emergency Room Mistake On A Patient

An emergency room mistake can make you suffer various adverse effects, many of which are due to human error. Diagnostic mistakes are the most common, and a simple one could risk your life. You could be overdosed or have severe allergic reactions to medication if charts are not carefully analyzed. For example, a pregnant mother faces a higher risk if she visits an emergency room where the medics are not keen. Most birth injuries occur because of emergency room mistakes. Any wrong procedure could affect not only the child but also the mother. Often, harm occurs because of misuse of tools or other triage mistakes.

Many emergency room mistakes aggravate the symptoms of the underlying condition. A knife-stabbing victim, for example, could continue bleeding and become unconscious in case of an emergency room error. Usually, the potential injuries or complications resulting from emergency room errors are nearly limitless. They include the following:

  • Brain aneurysms.
  • Internal bleeding.
  • Strokes.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Infections.
  • Appendicitis Complications.

Many injuries in the emergency room are preventable if not for human errors of omission and commission.

Elements Medical Malpractice

You can seek the services of a competent medical malpractice attorney to help you navigate the complexities of identifying the responsible party in your emergency room malpractice lawsuit. You need to prove the following elements for you to succeed in your medical malpractice lawsuit:

  • Medical professionals owed you a professional duty of care.
  • There was a breach of this duty.
  • You were injured as a result of this breach.
  • You experienced losses or damages as a result of your injuries.

The liability could fall on any emergency room medical staff member, depending on each case's specifics:

  • Doctors.
  • The hospital, whereby the doctor that was negligent works for the hospital not as an independent contractor.
  • Emergency room staff, and
  • Nurses.

Duty Of Care In The Medical Field

"Duty of care" is a legal term used to define medical experts' legal duties toward patients. All medical experts and doctors owe you a duty of care. A medical expert is required to use a standard of care in a manner that any other competent and reasonable medical expert would do under a similar situation.   

Your attorney will only succeed in the malpractice case if he/she provides evidence that a doctor-patient relationship existed when the malpractice happened. The attorney must also provide evidence that the medical professional or doctor failed to uphold the required standard during the treatment of the injured patient. The patient testimony and medical records typically offer evidence that a doctor-patient relationship existed. The testimony and medical records could also prove that the doctor’s actions, treatment, or lack of treatment or action breached the standard of duty of care.

The doctor’s duty of care includes:

  • Provide adequate supervision of all other people in the medical team caring for the patient.
  • Inform the patient of drug effects, like drowsiness that could impact their care of others or the safety of others around them.
  • Inform the victim of the risks of the prescribed medicines and recommended.
  • Inform the patient about their treatment options promptly.
  • Inform the patient of their diagnosis promptly.
  • Refer the patient to the appropriate specialist if need.
  • Order the proper tests to confirm or rule out a diagnosis.
  • Perform relevant medical examination depending on the symptoms the patient.

You have the right to expect the doctor or physician caring for you to observe their duty of care. When the doctor or physician fails to uphold this standard and causes injury, you have the right to compensation for your injury.

Lack Of High Emergency Room Standards Means Losing Lives

There are many discrepancies among hospital emergency departments in Phoenix. Some hospital emergency departments offer poor health care with more mistakes. However, some are consistent in providing better care with few errors. Most patients in an emergency room are often seriously injured or sick. Unfortunately, not every result is favorable, even if the emergency room staff does what is right. However, negative results do not imply a mistake has occurred. The outcome can only be regarded as medical malpractice if the hospital, staff, or doctors deviate from the level of care expected of any skilled and experienced member of the medical field in a similar region in the same specialty.

Reasons For Medical Malpractice

A significant percentage of the patients who visit the emergency room in Phoenix end up alleging malpractice. Most patients also proceed to file lawsuits and claims. Proving that you received rushed medical care in the emergency room could support your medical malpractice claim. The following are the reasons for medical malpractice:

  • Knowledge gaps.
  • Improper vetting of staff qualifications.
  • Frequent staff turnover.
  • Understaffing.
  • Poor record-keeping practices.
  • Doctor burnout, which is experienced by a substantial percentage of doctors.

Most of the above conditions occur due to understaffing and budget cuts.      

The Dos And Don’ts If You Suffer Injuries In An ER Malpractice

If you suffer injuries in an emergency room because of the mistake of a doctor or medical staff, you should take the following steps to help you seek compensation:

  • Contact your medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your case.
  • Keep a record to outline all symptoms, medical treatments, the time you take off work, and other impacts on your quality of life.
  • Ask the hospital emergency room for detailed copies of the medical records from your visit.
  • Visit a trusted doctor and discuss what you believe happened and accept any recommended treatment for your condition.
  • Do everything your doctor recommends, including going to all appointments and filling all prescriptions.
  • Do not answer any questions if the defendant’s attorney contacts you; instead, direct them to your attorney.
  • Do not talk about your case online or vent on social media.
  • Do not reach out to the hospital or doctor for clarification or to demand a settlement.

You can only maximize the opportunity of gaining your deserved compensation if you follow the above guidelines. However, you need to seek the services of a skilled and experienced attorney to succeed. You also need to be detailed and thorough when discussing your lawsuit with your attorney by sharing your medical records with the attorney and any other information related to your case. Your attorney will examine your case and collect the necessary evidence to prove that your injuries resulted from emergency room malpractice.

Reasons Why You Should File Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Many deaths occur every year because of medical malpractice. It is alarming that despite the increased campaigns and medical malpractice lawsuits, emergency room mistakes ranks among the leading cause of death in the United States. The following are the top reasons why you should file medical malpractice lawsuit:

  • If you were discharged prematurely from the hospital.
  • If the doctor failed to have complete documentation or follow them when you were admitted or transferred.
  • Inadequate medical supervision during your stay in the emergency room led to your injury.
  • If the doctor failed to treat your medical condition properly, including infections related to the healthcare itself.
  • If you suffered an injury during your treatment.
  • If the doctor failed to diagnose your medical condition.
  • Prolonged delay of treatment.

The medical experts, your attorney, and the court could examine your evidence in case of the above medical errors. The examination would help them to ascertain if another doctor in a similar situation would have acted in the same way or would have acted in a different manner to prevent your injury.

Filing A Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Many hospitals do not staff their emergency rooms adequately. This is not an excuse; patients still deserve the best care possible from that medical facility. However, individual medical practitioners could be doing their best in those circumstances.

The ultimate responsibility for an emergency room error could rest with a medical institution or hospital that inadequately or improperly staffed the emergency room. Proving this, as well as any other type of medical malpractice case, necessitates expert legal representation and a thorough examination of hospital records and other available evidence.

Damages You Can Recover From A Malpractice Lawsuit

An injury caused by medical malpractice in an emergency room can have a long-term effect on your quality of life and health. At times, it can be catastrophic or life-altering. A successful malpractice lawsuit can assist you in recovering the damages so you can focus on treatment and recovery. Most cases often settle out of court, so you do not have to go to court. A successful lawsuit can help you recover the following damages:

  • Loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Disability, either permanent or temporary.
  • Reduced capacity for earning.
  • Nursing care.
  • Pain, suffering, emotional anguish.
  • Lost wages and future lost wages.
  • Medical expenses and future medical expenses.

Preventable medical malpractice can lead to the need for ongoing multiple medical procedures and care. At times, it can lead to death, disability, or impairment. You deserve compensation for your injuries if you are a victim of a preventable medical mistake. The average damages award or settlement for a medical malpractice claim is hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, your compensation could be less or more depending on your injury's severity and your lawsuit's specifications.

Statute Of Limitations And The Discovery Rule In A Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

The statute of limitations governs most civil claims. The statute of limitations restricts the period in which you can file a lawsuit. The court will not hear a case in which the statute of limitations has expired unless one of the narrow exceptions applies. The expiry date varies based on the type of claim. Generally, medical malpractice claims often have a specific statute of limitations, which differs from other types of personal injury lawsuits, like truck accident lawsuits.

The statute of limitations for malpractice claims under Arizona law is two years after the date of the medical malpractice. However, there is one exception to this statute. The statute of limitations will be two years after when the court ascertains you should reasonably have discovered the injury. Similarly, if you were not aware that you had suffered an injury until much later, the limitations will be two years after the date you discovered the injury.

You could know how and why your injuries occurred if a distracted driver hit you, unlike in medical malpractice. The damage in medical malpractice can be hard to discern. This is the reason why a medical malpractice lawsuit has its own statute of limitations. For example, you might not know immediately why you are experiencing certain symptoms if a doctor forgot to remove a sponge in your stomach after surgery. It could also take years to realize that you have cancer if the doctor fails to diagnose the disease on time. It is always advisable to file your claim immediately after you suffer an injury because of medical malpractice. The statute of limitations in lawsuits involving injured children often takes longer. The law sometimes allows them not to sue until they reach 18 years.

Discovery Rule

The state laws have adopted a discovery rule to protect the patients if the doctors try to escape liability in medical malpractice. The discovery could extend the statute of limitations if the injury you suffered is not obvious. For example, this rule does not apply if a surgeon makes a mistake in cosmetic surgery that leaves your face disfigured or operates on the wrong limb. Typically, the discovery rule means that the statute of limitations commences when you discover or reasonably should discover the injury.

If you are dealing with unexpected health conditions or suffering from significant pain, you should seek medical treatment from a doctor to investigate the cause. If you fail to address the situation immediately, the discovery rule will not protect you.

This rule also does not override the laws of repose. Generally, this restricts the period you can file a lawsuit. The law of repose could stop you from filing a claim if the allowable time elapses. You will not be able to do so even if you could not have reasonably discovered the injury. Often, a restriction exists on the extent to which the discovery rule can extend the period for filing a lawsuit.

Find A Phoenix Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me

If you have suffered injuries because of medical malpractice, you need to consult a skilled and experienced attorney who knows how to handle emergency room mistakes lawsuits. Your attorney will analyze your case to ascertain if you have a valid claim for medical malpractice. The Phoenix Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm has a team of attorneys with a long track record of representing patients in medical malpractice cases. We will give you a personalized and compassionate service at our client-centered law practice. Call us at 602-641-9589 to speak to one of our attorneys.