Emergency Room Errors Lawyer
HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOMS ARE TYPICALLY UNDERSTAFFED AND CROWDED, WITH DOCTORS AND NURSES WORKING UNDER PRESSURE, STRESSED OUT, EXHAUSTED, AND FORCED TO MAKE QUICK DECISIONS.
Many of the people who staff emergency rooms are not properly trained or are rejects from other hospitals and institutions. As an unfortunate result, thousands of people experience serious injuries, preventable complications or loss of life each year because of emergency room errors and the lack of treatment they receive.
If you or a loved one has experienced serious injuries or someone has died due to emergency room error, you may be able to file a medical malpractice or wrongful death claim against the negligent healthcare provider, including the hospital, doctor, nurse, surgeon, and other support staff involved. Possible compensation and benefits you may be entitled to could include pain and suffering compensation, lost wages compensation, and current and future medical benefits.
The seasoned medical malpractice attorney Clifford Rieders of Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann has spent decades honing his skills and successfully representing Pennsylvania families who have suffered an injury or loss due to improper or negligent emergency room care. Our deep sense of loyalty to each client drives us to pursue each claim vigorously and make sure you get the maximum compensation you deserve.
We offer a free consultation to examine the facts of your individual situation and show you what we can do to help.
Causes of Emergency Room Errors
Many medical errors are preventable. The healthcare provider can be held accountable for harm that stems from negligence, lack of due care. Hospitals can be liable for corporate negligence, meaning their own lack of due care as well as, in some cases, vicarious liability for the negligence of others. Cliff Rieders wrote the book on medical malpractice in Pennsylvania which virtually every lawyer and judge uses in the state.
According to a study by The Doctors Company, a medical malpractice insurance provider, most claims for emergency room negligence fall into four categories:
- Diagnosis errors, including delays in diagnosis or misdiagnoses, caused about 57 percent of the claims.
- Treatment management failures:Errors made during the treatment process caused 13 percent of the claims.
- Wrong treatments that were inappropriate for the patient’s condition caused 5 percent of claims.
- Medication failures: Failing to order necessary medication caused 3 percent of claims.
The study also found that the majority (52 percent) of errors were brought on, at least partially, by patient-assessment mistakes, such as failing to order tests. Bear in mind that this study is from an insurance company. Many lawyers are not sufficiently trained, knowledgeable or experienced to bring the right and proper claims, and you should get an attorney who not only has experience but has also taught medical malpractice to other lawyers and is Board Certified, such as Cliff Rieders of Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann.
Other common causes of preventable emergency room errors include:
- Delayed diagnosis or incorrect diagnosis, often of heart attack, stroke, infection, or meningitis
- Patients having to wait so long that they do not receive treatment in a timely manner
- Failure to recognize a serious problem and get a patient to a specialist
- Errors involving radiology, CT scans, X-rays or other imaging
- Failure to adhere to safety procedures, spend enough time with or properly follow up on patients
- Mistakes with medication — wrong medication or wrong dose
- Lack of equipment or resources
- Lack of staff, or inexperienced and ill-trained staff
- Overcrowding or shortage of hospital beds
- Lack of patient supervision
- Surgical errors
- Laboratory errors
- Patient dumping — transferring or releasing a patient because of a lack of insurance or other financial reasons
- Poor communication among healthcare providers or between the patient and provider.
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?
According to Pennsylvania law, medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional commits medical negligence by violating the generally accepted standard of care used by other medical professionals in the same field. The medical negligence must be a factual cause resulting in the patient’s injuries. The Mcare Act in Pennsylvania has very specific rules about who may be an expert in a case and what sort of testimony is necessary in order to constitute legitimate medical testimony. Pennsylvania also has a Certificate of Merit Rule in its Rules of Civil Procedure. Cliff Rieders was instrumental in the creation of this legislation. Rieders was President of the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association, now Pennsylvania Association for Justice, when the Mcare Act was negotiated and passed. Rieders also had a hand in terms of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure which govern medical malpractice. Currently, Cliff Rieders is a member of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Standard Jury Instruction Committee.
Emergency rooms and their staff must act reasonably and uphold proper standards of care for their patients, including maintenance of safe and adequate facilities and equipment and having adequate rules and policies to ensure quality care for patients. However, not every unfortunate event that happens in an emergency room rises to the level of negligence, and an emergency room is not responsible for every medical complication, injury or death suffered by its patients.
Liability depends mostly upon whether the emergency room and its staff acted reasonably with respect to the medical services provided and whether it knew or should have known about the defects or procedures that were a substantial factor in bringing about the harm.
There has been a push in Pennsylvania to give emergency room personnel a kind of immunity whereby there would be a higher standard to pursue a case against emergency care personnel than others in the medical field. This is totally unfair. Law today requires emergency room employees and those who work in emergency rooms to conform with the conduct of other reasonable people in the same field, working emergency rooms. Why should there be a special break for emergency room employees?
Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
Be aware that there is a statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations is two (2) years from the date the cause of action accrues. Pennsylvania does have a discovery rule, sometimes called the tolling rule. This is a very complex area of law as well, covered in Cliff Rieders’ book on medical malpractice in Pennsylvania. For a “discovery” case, generally speaking, the statute of limitations begins to run when a person knew or, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have known of the relationship between the medical care and the harm. This is a very complex area of the law and no one should rely on a short summary since cases concerning the “discovery” rule are very fact specific. Pennsylvania also has a statute of repose, which is seven (7) years. The application for the statute of repose can also be a complicated analysis. There is a Minor’s Tolling Act in Pennsylvania. A minor does not have to start an action prior to the age of 20. The law in Pennsylvania is still not absolutely clear in a death case. When a case involves death, both a wrongful death and survival action can be brought. The wrongful death action must be brought within two (2) years of the date of death. However, the survival action may have to be brought within two (2) years of when the cause of action accrued, which could even be before death! This is a very confusing area of the law, and the courts have not absolutely resolved it. We like to use the earliest possible dates. No one should rely on this quick summary, given the ever-changing case law and complex differing factual scenarios.
Since the statute of limitations and the fact that signs of medical malpractice do not always occur right away, injured parties should get advice from a Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible after injury occurs.
Contact a Williamsport Emergency Room Errors Attorney with Knowledge, Resources and Experience. The Consultation is Free.
Medical malpractice law is highly regulated by a complex body of rules and laws, but no matter where you are in Pennsylvania, if you or a family member has experienced harm or wrongful death due to an emergency room error, our attorneys can provide the answers you need.
Whether in settlement negotiations or pursuing a favorable trial verdict, the experienced Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney Cliff Rieders of Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann is familiar with the law and thoroughly prepared and committed to achieving a just outcome. With our sizeable staff, we offer strength in numbers while providing top-notch personal service. We have successfully represented many people in cases related to improper or negligent emergency room care.
If you or your loved one has suffered from emergency room malpractice, do not delay. Consult Cliff Rieders of Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann by calling (570) 323-8711 for a free consultation, or use our online contact form.