Emergency Room Malpractice July 17, 2012.

Emergency room malpractice may take only seconds to happen, but it can mean a lifetime of consequences for the victim. A Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer can help when cases of patient injury occur during emergency care.

Emergency room patients are there because they need immediate medical attention for serious and life-threatening conditions. They trust the doctors, nurses, and other medical staff to be competent and perform their jobs to the best of their ability. Unfortunately, in the hectic, stressful environment of an emergency room, there are plenty of opportunities for error, and these mistakes happen more frequently than we’d like to imagine.

According to a study of emergency room medical malpractice, 37 percent of medical malpractice in the ER involved misdiagnosis. It’s extremely important for a doctor to take all the symptoms and signs into account before making a diagnosis for an emergency room patient. Failure to do so can derail the treatment process by causing the doctor to order unnecessary tests (or fail to order needed tests), prescribe the wrong medication, or even send patients home when they really need to remain in the hospital for care.

Common Conditions Involved in Emergency Room Malpractice

The study also showed that 19 percent of malpractice cases involved an improperly performed procedure. Not all emergency rooms are properly equipped for certain procedures; for example, only six percent of all ERs have the proper instruments to perform procedures on pediatric patients.

Other emergency room pitfalls include:

  • inadequate staffing;
  • unsanitary conditions;
  • failure to monitor patients;
  • failure to hire properly trained ER staff; and
  • overcrowding.

While patients with just about any injury or ailment are at risk of being victims of emergency room malpractice, there are some conditions that are more commonly associated with physician error, including:

  • fractures;
  • infection;
  • heart attack;
  • cancer; and
  • appendicitis.

Heart attacks seem to be the most common missed diagnosis in ERs across the country. In a crowded and chaotic emergency room, a person who’s having chest pain may be told they’re having indigestion and be sent home. This is a very dangerous scenario that can be deadly.

How Do I File an Emergency Room Malpractice Claim?

It’s true that making mistakes is part of life, and doctors make mistakes just like the rest of us. However, there are times when a mistake results from negligent behavior. When you contact a Cleveland medical malpractice attorney, he or she will evaluate your case and determine whether the emergency room physician’s actions were negligent and if it can be proven that those actions caused you physical harm.

Once it is determined that you have a case, the process of litigation begins. Many times with a medical malpractice suit, the doctor attempts to offer the injured patient a settlement right away before the case even goes to trial. Sometimes these settlements are acceptable, but other times, your Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer may find that the settlement is unfair and will suggest you proceed to trial.

You are allowed to be present at the hearing, but it’s not something that every lawyer would recommend. It is easy for patients to become emotional when hearing the doctor testify about the events surrounding the alleged malpractice, especially if the doctor’s version of events differs from that of the patient.

Expert witnesses may be called to help explain the medical aspects of the case and to describe how a competent doctor would behave in the scenario in which the patient claims to have suffered malpractice.

The process of filing a medical malpractice claim can be a long one – it may last more than a year. This may seem like a long time, but when you’re recovering from the effects of a misdiagnosis, surgical error, or other ER mistake, your attorney will take the time to handle your case.

Contacting a Cleveland Medical Malpractice Lawyer

You don’t have to suffer through medical malpractice alone. The attorneys at Mellino Law Firm will help guide you through the process of filing a claim and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Call today at (440) 333-3800 for a free consultation.