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Emergency Room Malpractice Cases

January 19, 2017


When someone visits and emergency room, they need immediate medical attention. Upon arriving in an emergency room, we expect the highest level of medical attention because matters are often life or death situations. However, just like any other area of medicine, it is possible for emergency personnel and doctors to commit medical malpractice. Here is important information to know about emergency room malpractice cases.


Triage in the Emergency Room


Emergency rooms operate in a unique way because patients are usually treated based on the severity of their injury rather than the order they came in. For example, if you only need a few stitches you may have to wait until someone with a life threatening wound is treated first, even if you got there well before the other patient. This process is known as triage. While decisions based on the severity of injuries must be made quickly, this does not allow doctors to make serious mistakes without consequences.


Is every injury in an emergency room subject to a medical malpractice lawsuit?


The short answer is no. Unfortunately, there are many individuals who suffer serious personal injury or even death, yet there is no cause of action for medical malpractice. This is because medical malpractice in South Carolina is based on a legal standard that assesses whether a doctor acted in a reasonable manner when responding to an emergency. Sometimes, even when doctors act in a reasonable manner there can still be an unfavorable result.


What are common causes of action for malpractice in South Carolina emergency rooms?


The following list highlights a number of examples that could be considered emergency room malpractice depending on the facts of the case:


  • One of the most typical reasons for medical malpractice in an emergency room is a misdiagnosis of injury. Beginning a procedure without knowing the true cause of an injury can greatly worsen a patient’s condition.

  • While emergency rooms are operated based on a triage system where the most severe injuries are treated first, a common cause for medical practice arises when there is improperly delayed treatment. If a patient’s injuries are not adequately assessed upon entry, the patient may be forced to wait longer than necessary and develop further complications.

  • Another common cause of emergency room medical malpractice is the failure to obtain complete records or the failure to obtain informed consent. Because emergency room patients often require immediate care, paperwork is often postponed. However, a missing medical history or the lack of informed consent may be the foundation for a medical malpractice case against a hospital.


Have you or a loved one been injured as a result of negligence in an emergency room?


As stated above, not every negative result in an emergency room automatically results in a medical malpractice case. However, if you believe you have been the victim of emergency negligence, it is important to contact an experienced injury lawyer today. The lawyers at Surasky Law have the expertise to protect your rights and get you the compensation you deserve.


Contact us today for a free consultation.


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