Valenzuela Law Firm, PA | Trial Attorney
Attorney Henry E. Valenzuela

What is an emergency room mistake, and what are my options?

Going to the emergency room is scary and possibly the beginning of the worst time of your life. And, once you get there, the fear is then added to stress and the chaos of an ER. After all, ERs are often understaffed, almost always overcrowded and hospitals are under pressure to turn over patients quickly to maximize profits. But, none of this justifies ER mistakes and their serious and sometimes fatal consequences.

What is an ER mistake?

ER mistakes include any error, omission or negligence by a medical practitioner or an agent of the hospital in an emergency room. There are many possible examples of an ER mistake, like the refusal of services based on a patient’s ability to pay or any discriminatory reason. An ER mistake can also be failing to perform a test or performing the wrong test or giving the wrong medication.

An ER mistake could also be a failure to follow up after a discharge or discharging a patient too soon. It could also be failing to diagnose or a misdiagnosis and any delay in treatment.

Are they really that common?

A study by Johns Hopkins University found that medical errors are the third leading cause of deaths in the United States, and many of these medical errors are ER mistakes. Indeed, more that a quarter of a million of us die every year due to medical errors, which is mor than accidents. It is more than strokes, and it is more than Alzheimer’s disease.

What are my options?

In Florida, you have options if you are a victim of an ER mistake. For one, depending on the circumstances, you may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against everyone involved, including the ER staff that made the mistake and the hospital that employed the staff. But, you must be able to show that they owed you a duty of care, they breached that duty with that ER mistake, this breach caused your injury or your family member’s death and you suffered damages as a result.

Florida has many rules that govern filing these types of lawsuits, like the statute of limitations, the pre-suit notice requirement, expert witness requirement and our state has a damages cap.

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