Emergency room physicians—or ER doctors—are tasked with caring for injured individuals under extreme and often catastrophic circumstances. This requires them to diagnose and treat patients from all walks of life. To live up to this, these doctors undergo rigorous training.
Emergency room doctors are a vital part of the health care industry. However, there are occasions when patients suffer injuries or even death due to errors in the emergency department. When these mistakes happen, hiring a Michigan emergency room error lawyer is essential to determining if you have a valid lawsuit again an ER doctor. By retaining a qualified attorney, you will better understand your legal rights and decide if taking legal action is right for you.
Emergency Department Visit Statistics
The number of hospital emergency department visits across the United States are on the rise. The Center for Disease Control recently published these 2016 statistics:
- 145.6 million emergency department visits
- 42.2 million visits related to an injury
- 12.6 million hospital admissions that began with a visit to the emergency room
- 2.2 million patients seen in the emergency room were transferred to the critical care unit
From the numbers, you can see that less than one-third of all visits were related to some type of injury. This means that the majority of patients present to the hospital due to illness, serious physical symptoms, or for psychiatric purposes. Common conditions include chest pain, stroke like symptoms, fevers, diabetes, and other health complications.
Common Causes of Emergency Room Mistakes
Unfortunately, there are many common causes of emergency room mistakes that might lead to injuries and worsened conditions for patients. These include an ER failing to:
- Diagnose an infection, like meningitis, epidural abscess, or pneumonia
- Diagnose appendicitis or bowel obstructions
- Diagnose a heart attack
- Diagnose a stroke and treat it quickly to prevent major damage
- Order x-rays, CT Scans, MRIs, or other radiology tests
- Consult with a specialist
- Order necessary tests
- Treat any condition that was previously properly diagnosed
- Promptly consult another medical specialist
- Admit a patient to the hospital
Essentially, there are numerous ways that these and other conditions could be mishandled by an emergency room physician, including prematurely discharging a patient. For instance, along with simply neglecting to diagnose a patient, they might also fail to consult with a specialist about the type of care that is needed. However, establishing negligence for a lawsuit is complex, meaning the knowledge of a Michigan emergency room errors lawyer could be essential.
Examples of Successful Lawsuits Against Emergency Departments
There have been many successful lawsuits filed against hospital emergency departments. Many of these lawsuits had similar medical conditions that were not properly treated. These include the failure to diagnose:
- Fracture or bone dislocation
- Stroke, or an impending stroke
- Myocardial infarction or other symptoms of a heart attack
- Pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, or blood clot
- Meningitis, especially in small children
- Appendicitis or ruptured appendix
- Ruptured spleen, liver, or other organs
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Lyme’s Disease
- Lacerations of tendons or nerve damage, especially in the hands
Many times, the physician will not consider all of the serious potential medical conditions and discharge the patient home. Other times, the condition will go totally untreated and a consultation with a specialist will not be requested. This can lead to life-altering consequences.
The Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act
In addition to misdiagnosis and hospital negligence lawsuits, there is another legal basis for suing a hospital emergency department. Under the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA), a hospital can be determined liable for the failure evaluate and stabilize a patient. If the hospital cannot accomplish these things, it is required to transfer the patient to another facility that can properly treat the patient. This can happen when a hospital is not equipped or does not have the specialists to treat a certain condition.
Essentially, the statute was written to prevent “patient dumping.” This is when hospitals send patients home because they likely do not have the funds to pay for services. Hospitals take these claims seriously because they can lose their Medicare reimbursements if it is found that they are engaging in this unlawful practice.
Can You Sue for being Misdiagnosed in the Emergency Room?
If you were the victim of medical malpractice in a hospital emergency room, you can file a lawsuit. When you sue for an emergency room error, you are claiming that a medical mistake caused you serious and permanent harm. Lawsuits are usually filed against both the doctors and the hospital.
Many hospitals now have contracts with emergency room physician groups. Under these agreements, the group furnishes the doctors to the hospital under a contract basis. This means that the doctors are not employees of the hospital. In these situations, our lawyers will also sue the physician group as part of your case.
How do I File a Malpractice Lawsuit against a Hospital Emergency Room?
Malpractice lawsuits frequently arise against medical mistakes and errors made within emergency departments. When a preventable medical error occurs in an ER and a patient suffers significant injury or harm, it might be the basis for a valid civil lawsuit.
However, the steps to proving fault against a medical facility involve numerous steps, including the testimony of an expert witness, as well as the establishment of a number of legal components. Essentially, these include establishing:
- The duty owed by ER staff to care for a patient
- A breach of this duty due to careless, reckless, malicious, or otherwise negligent action or inaction
- This breach of duty resulted in an accident
- This accident harmed the claimant and caused them to suffer subsequent financial, emotional, and physical damage
After an injury, a potential claimant might feel overwhelmed by their condition and unaware of the steps needed to file for compensation. Our experienced lawyers will investigate your medical care and determine if you have the basis to file a lawsuit.
How Much are Hospital Negligence Lawsuit Settlements?
A victim of medical negligence can receive several types of compensation. Settlements include non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, and economic damages. These damages are payouts for loss of earnings, medical expenses, and other financial losses.
There is no “average” or “typical settlement.” Every settlement is determined by the degree of negligent treatment and the specific harm to the patient. Our lawyers will work hard to maximize your settlement so you receive the highest possible compensation permitted under Michigan law.
Emergency Room Error Settlement Example
A 36-year-old woman went to the emergency room due to a kidney stone. She developed a serious infection due to the stone blockage.
The emergency room doctor failed to admit her to the hospital or treat the serious infection. Upon returning home, she went into septic shock and was taken back to the same emergency room. She had surgery to remove the blockage but developed ischemia in her arms and legs.
As a result she lost the inability to properly use her hands and legs. A lawsuit was filed against the hospital and emergency room doctor. The case settled for $5.45 million.
Get Help from a Michigan Emergency Room Error Malpractice Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered while in ER care, you have legal options. When a care professional’s neglect results in your injuries, you should not have to shoulder the resulting financial and emotional burden alone.
A dedicated and qualified attorney at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. will listen to your story and tell you if you have a potential case. If you do, we will get all of the records and have them reviewed by a board certified emergency room doctor. If our medical expert determines you have a case, we will file a lawsuit for you.
We will handle your case under our No Fee Promise. This means there are no legal fees until you receive your settlement check and we pay all of the case costs. If your case is not successful for any reason, then you owe us nothing. There is no risk whatsoever to start your case.
Call us now to start your case. We are friendly and eager to help you.
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