You went to the hospital in a time of crisis, after an accident, or during an acute medical emergency. You deserved adequate and careful treatment. However, that is not what you received. Now you are wondering if you can take legal action against the doctor or hospital. If you suffered a serious injury, illness, or required prolonged hospitalization because of emergency room negligence, we can help.
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For more than 30 years, the emergency room negligence lawyers at Regan Zambri Long PLLC have been helping victims of medical malpractice. We understand how complex these cases can be. With medically trained experts on staff, we will be able to examine your records during your time in the ER and see what was or what wasn’t done that may have caused your injury.
Schedule your free consultation today. Call (202) 960-4534 or complete our online form to start. The only way to know if you have a legal case is to speak with a medical malpractice attorney. At Regan Zambri Long, we offer a free consultation so you can get the answers that you need with no obligation or risk. We never collect a fee for our services unless we win your case.
Most emergency rooms are busy, hectic places. A patient of any age, with virtually any type of illness or injury can come in, from an adult car accident victim to a child who is complaining of stomach pain.
In addition to the inherent chaos in an ER, some staff may be overworked or not have the proper emergency medicine training. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 130 million visits to emergency departments across the United States in 2018. The percentage of visits that resulted in a patient being seen by a medical professional for less than 15 minutes is 43.5%. With medical professionals spending so little time with patients, it is not surprising that medical errors can occur.
Some examples of emergency room negligence include:
A failure to diagnose may occur when patients who complain of an injury or have symptoms of an underlying illness are told that “nothing is wrong” with them. They are sent home to rest or advised to follow up with their regular doctor if their symptoms persist, many of which choose not to do. As a result, life-saving treatment may be delayed or even completely overlooked.
A serious medical condition is not diagnosed, either because a medical test isn’t ordered or the results aren’t available before the patient is discharged. It is only at a later appointment that the proper diagnosis is given. If the delay resulted in a worsened condition that could have been avoided, you may have cause for legal action.
A patient’s vitals aren’t monitored closely enough or maybe even not at all. Or, a nurse may fail to act on an abnormal pulse, blood pressure, or oxygen saturation reading. For example, if a patient is known to be a “fall risk” is not carefully monitored and suffers a serious slip and fall when trying to go to the bathroom, the emergency room may be liable.
There are several types of medication mistakes that can occur in the ER. Drug-drug, drug-condition, and drug-food interactions can happen when a complete patient history isn’t recorded. A patient may also be given the wrong drug, the wrong dose, or a drug that they are allergic to.
Several surgical errors can occur during an emergency operation. There may be inadequate cleaning of the surgical site, an instrument or bandage can be left inside of the body, healthy tissue can be accidentally nicked, and even the wrong procedure can be performed.
A patient may be moved to a medical/surgical wing when they really need to be in the ICU. Or, they may even be sent directly home before they are well. A hasty discharge can cause a condition or illness to worsen. In fact, almost 20% of Medicare patients who are discharged will be readmitted within 30 days. This is a serious issue for people who live alone and may not have anyone to assist them if they fall, have a seizure, lose consciousness, or experience another type of medical event.
Many of these types of errors will lead to serious or lifelong complications for the patient, and can even result in death.
The consequences of emergency room and hospital negligence are wide-ranging. Many of these types of errors will lead to serious or lifelong complications for the patient, and can even result in death. Some typical consequences include:
Diagnostic mistakes are a leading contributing factor to ER negligence. These errors include a missed, wrong, or delayed diagnosis. Any of these can result in the patient’s condition progressing further than it should have. A patient may then require more invasive treatment for their advanced medical condition. And for some diseases like cancer, a delayed diagnosis may limit what treatments are feasible.
An analysis of medical malpractice claims found that a “[f]ailure or delay in ordering a diagnostic test was the most common contributing factor” of those claims.
According to the analysis, the most frequently misdiagnosed medical conditions in the ER setting were “acute cerebral vascular accident, myocardial infarction, spinal epidural abscess, pulmonary embolism, necrotizing fasciitis, meningitis, testicular torsion, subarachnoid hemorrhage, septicemia, lung cancer, fractures, and appendicitis.” With these serious conditions, even delaying diagnosis by a day or two can lead to death or serious complications.
The complications of a medical error can often result in not only pain and suffering for the patient, but additional medical treatment and costly medications. Even taking the wrong medication or having emergency surgery by an inexperienced surgeon can result in life-threatening infections and the need for additional medical procedures.
With more medical services needed to take care of your illness or injury, you will be experiencing additional medical expenses. You could also be missing time from work for doctor visits, creating more financial debt than you can handle.
In some cases, a serious injury as a result of emergency room errors can leave an individual with a permanent disability. Not only will the injured patient have to learn how to live day by day with their disability but they may not be able to return to work and will need medical equipment and long-term care.
The bottom line is, mistakes in the ER happen when a doctor is careless, inattentive, and doesn’t do their job correctly. Unfortunately, patients pay the price when there is:
It is extremely difficult for a patient or their family to bring forth an emergency room error lawsuit on their own. The hospital may not be entirely forthcoming about what exactly happened. Physicians can be hesitant to speak out because they don’t want to lose their professional licenses or attract negative publicity. As a result, you may be told that what happened to you was an expected risk of ER treatment when in fact it was negligence.
To successfully win a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must be able to prove the following:
In the legal world, that means that the medical care that they provided fell below the standard at which someone with their education, training, and experience would be expected to provide in that particular situation.
Because the doctor had acted in a careless or negligent manner, it caused an injury. For example, a doctor giving someone the wrong medication in the ER leads to organ failure in that patient.
In the eyes of the law, “damages” are things like bodily injury, medical bills, and emotional distress.
These are complex cases, and you need an experienced attorney on your side.
At Regan Zambri Long, our entire practice is dedicated to representing clients who experienced a personal injury. And that includes medical malpractice cases where an ER doctor or hospital was negligent.
You can trust us with your case because we are the law firm that other lawyers turn to for assistance. We receive referrals from firms that do not have the resources to pursue complex medical malpractice cases.
Our firm works on a contingency fee basis. That means you pay absolutely nothing upfront. Contact us today to schedule your free, no-obligation case review.
A medical malpractice settlement of this type typically covers:
The most serious mistakes made in the ER will result in death. If you lost a loved one, you may also be entitled to:
You don’t have forever to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. The Washington, DC statute of limitations sets forth the amount of time you have to pursue such a legal case.
Typically, the clock starts ticking the day that the negligence occurred or when the patient was made aware of the negligence. However, there are many factors at play in an emergency room negligence case, including if the patient died.
It is difficult to predict how long a case will take to complete. Oftentimes, the more serious your or your loved one’s injuries are, the longer the case may last.
Some of the factors that impact how long a medical malpractice case can last are:
We know that it’s difficult to wait, but our attorneys are in it for the long haul. We also want the best possible outcome for you, which may not be the quickest.
Keep in mind that when you hire us, you won’t pay us until after you receive your settlement. That allows you to receive legal representation without incurring more bills.
Emergency room patients are some of the most vulnerable. Family members or friends may not be allowed in the patient’s room during treatment. Some emergencies occur away from home. So a patient may be at a hospital where they have never been seen before. However, there are some steps you can take to reduce the chances of an ER mistake.
If you or a loved one want to learn more about your legal rights after ER negligence, we’re here to help.