Indianapolis Emergency Room Malpractice Lawyers
Hospital emergency rooms and emergency departments are hectic places where doctors and nurses provide critical care under pressure and make quick decisions that can make all the difference in a patient’s outcome. Even highly trained doctors and nurses can make mistakes that cause serious harm. It happens more frequently when emergency rooms are overwhelmed with patients and staff are struggling to keep up. In some cases, an overworked doctor may spend insufficient time with a patient and fail to recognize symptoms of a serious condition or may neglect to order the proper diagnostic tests or have a communication breakdown with other ER staff members.
If you or a family member has suffered serious harm from an ER error in Indiana, it’s important to talk with an experienced emergency room malpractice lawyer to understand your legal rights. The trusted medical malpractice attorneys at Baker & Gilchrist have represented patients seriously harmed by emergency room errors and other medical mistakes. We know what it takes to prevail in these complex cases and have the passion to pursue them to a successful conclusion. Bringing negligent care to light might make a difference for someone else.
If you went to an emergency department in Indiana seeking treatment and suffered significant harm, you owe it to yourself to explore your legal options. When ER doctors and hospitals fail to treat patients appropriately and cause harm through negligence, they should be held accountable. We handle emergency room negligence cases in Indianapolis, Avon and across Indiana and have assisted many individuals and families that have been seriously harmed.
What is Emergency Room Negligence?
Emergency room physicians, hospitals and other health care providers have a legal responsibility to provide medical care consistent with the standard of care that other physicians who practice emergency medicine would have provided in a similar situation.
A patient who has been harmed must prove that the emergency room doctor or health care provider had a duty of care to the patient and that the health care provider violated that duty and a serious preventable injury occurred as a result. Proving medical negligence typically requires consultation with medical experts to analyze a patient’s medical records to determine what went wrong and explain what medical care should have been provided in your situation.
If a health care provider breaches the standard of care and causes significant harm, the provider can be held liable. The doctor or hospital’s medical malpractice insurance provider will be required to provide compensation to the victim based on the damages suffered.
Types of Emergency Room Errors
One of every three Americans visits emergency rooms each year, accounting for 130 million ER visits, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians. More than 600,000 Hoosiers visit emergency departments annually for treatment of injuries. While many patients receive competent medical care, some patients suffer serious harm.
Among the types of emergency room errors that may constitute medical malpractice are:
- Failure to rule out potentially life threatening diagnosis
- Failure to order appropriate medical tests or misreading of test results
- Failure to monitor and respond to changes in a patient’s condition
- Delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis of a medical condition
- Administering the wrong medication or wrong dosage
- Failure to admit or transfer to a specialist
- Failure to communicate
Any of these ER mistakes can cause a severe injury or allow a condition to worsen, making it more difficult to treat.
How Indiana Emergency Room Malpractice Happens
The number of emergency rooms has decreased 5 percent in the last decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, putting more pressure on the remaining ERs to deliver treatment. Emergency rooms are open 24 hours a day and must be ready to handle all types of life-threatening medical emergencies from car accidents to heart attacks and strokes to injuries from assaults to mental health emergencies.
Emergency room doctors typically treat patients who they have not seen before and whose medical histories are unfamiliar to them. The doctor may not have adequate time to spend with the patient to understand their symptoms. They may have to make life or death decisions about the proper course of treatment based on limited information.
Delayed Treatment in Indianapolis Emergency Rooms
Emergency room errors may occur because of lack of sufficient monitoring of the patient, inadequate staffing, poor training of ER staff, and breakdowns in communication. If a patient has to wait an unreasonably long time, their symptoms may get worse or they may suffer serious or fatal complications. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 96 percent of patients who were triaged needed care within two hours. If you have visited an emergency department and sat in a crowded waiting room for six or eight hours to see an ER doctor, you know conditions are often less than ideal. Serious harm may be caused by a delayed diagnosis or an inaccurate initial diagnosis by an overworked ER doctor or nurse practitioner.
What You Can Do If You Have Suffered an Injury at an Indiana ER
If you suspect that you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury as a result of an ER error in Indiana, you do not have to carry that burden alone. You need to understand what actually happened during your ER treatment so you can make an informed decision how to proceed. Unfortunately, neither the doctor nor hospital is likely to provide you complete information or admit if an ER error did occur. You will need an independent review to confirm what happened and determine whether you were harmed by substandard care.
The experienced medical malpractice lawyers at Baker & Gilchrist work with a network of medical experts to review your medical records to determine whether a preventable error occurred and a medical malpractice claim is justified. In Indiana, the length of time allowed for filing a medical malpractice claim is generally two years from the date of the injury, although there are some instances in which additional time is permitted. The statue of limitations makes it very important to contact an attorney promptly if you suspect that you have suffered serious injury from an ER error so the attorney has time to investigate and gather evidence.
Contact our emergency room medical negligence lawyers at Baker & Gilchrist for a free consultation.