As their name suggests, emergency rooms (ER) are meant to provide urgent care to patients. Accordingly, hospitals must ensure enough trained staff and proper facilities in their emergency rooms to offer that urgent care effectively. Failure to do so can result in fatal and catastrophic patient injuries and legal repercussions to negligent hospitals.
When delayed ER treatment is suable
Emergency rooms can be bustling at times, so some may expect slight acceptable delays in medical care. However, if the delay in treatment becomes unreasonable and starts to aggravate the patient’s condition, then it may be a cause for a lawsuit.
Specifically, a patient can file a medical malpractice lawsuit due to the delay in ER treatment if the following circumstances are present:
- There is an existing patient-medical professional relationship.
- The attending ER professional fails to timely attend to the patient and provide proper diagnosis and treatment.
- The delay in diagnosis and treatment causes the patient further injury.
- The patient’s injury causes them economic and noneconomic damages.
The foundation of these elements is the medical professionals’ duty to act according to the medical standard of care.
So, where does the hospital’s responsibility lie?
Hospitals and health care facilities must also follow the appropriate standard of care when operating their institutions. As mentioned above, these facilities must ensure they have enough staff with appropriate medical training and experience, proper facilities for their patients and equipment for their health care professionals.
If a hospital’s ER is unequipped with competent staff and proper tools and equipment, leading to delays in treatment and eventually causing a patient’s aggravated injury, then they can be liable for medical malpractice.
Rights worth fighting for
A medical malpractice lawsuit requires careful preparation and strategic planning. It will not be an easy fight but with proper resources and experienced representation, medical negligence victims can confidently fight for their rights.