Baltimore Emergency Room Malpractice Lawyer

By their very nature, emergency rooms necessitate quick thinking and rapid decision making by nurses and physicians. Patients presenting to the emergency room may have urgent care needs, acute pain, severe trauma, or life-threatening medical conditions.

Emergency room personnel must be able to appropriately triage patients and stabilize their conditions, and they often must do so quickly with little to no patient history. However, the chaotic nature of an emergency room does not excuse medical personnel from providing appropriate medical care.

When negligence in the emergency room leads to further patient harm, a Baltimore medical malpractice lawyer can help injured patients and their families obtain appropriate compensation from those liable.

Defining ER Malpractice

Emergency room malpractice is demonstrated by the same criteria in other medical malpractice cases:

  1. Duty of Care – There must be a doctor/patient relationship. In most cases, this is established simply by visiting the ER and seeking medical attention. In fact, according to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), any hospital that accepts Medicaid (and most do) is prohibited from turning away a patient from the emergency room, regardless of his or her ability to pay. At the very least, the hospital must stabilize the patient’s condition before sending him or her elsewhere to seek treatment.
  2. Breach of Duty –A medical error alone is not sufficient to prove a malpractice case. However, if the mistake was a preventable error that would not have been made by a reasonable physician practicing a professional standard of care, it is likely considered negligence, an element of medical malpractice.
  3. Patient Harm – A bad medical result does not necessarily mean malpractice has occurred. After all, sometimes bad things happen even with the best care. Some patients are left with permanent disfigurement or disability after a traumatic accident. Some patients die of heart attack, stroke, or trauma. But when a worsened medical condition or preventable death has a causal link to a medical professional’s negligence, malpractice has occurred.

If each of these three elements can be successfully demonstrated, the patient or surviving dependents likely have a viable emergency room malpractice claim against the hospital and/or medical providers whose negligence caused harm.

Common Types of Emergency Room Malpractice

According to a study by The Doctors Company, a medical malpractice insurer, 70 percent of patient allegations in ER malpractice claims come from two categories of negligence:

  • Diagnostic Error (57 percent) – failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis, including missed or delayed diagnosis of stroke, cardiac arrest, and pulmonary embolism
  • Improper Management of Treatment (13 percent) – including failure to stabilize a neck or spinal injury, failure to adequately assess a wound to prevent infection or remove foreign objects

Other types of ER malpractice include improper performance of a medical procedure, failure to order appropriate medication, “patient dumping” (refusing to treat a patient), patient neglect and inappropriate delay in treating urgent medical conditions, anesthesia error, and surgical error.

Emergency Malpractice Attorneys in Baltimore

If emergency room negligence has caused you to suffer preventable harm, contacting an ER malpractice attorney in Baltimore is the first step in achieving financial compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income, and other damages associated with your substandard care.

Call to schedule a free consultation with a Baltimore ER malpractice lawyer.