We all rely on emergency rooms and urgent care facilities when we sustain injuries or illnesses that require immediate attention. In fact, almost everyone has visited an emergency room or urgent care facility at some point in their lifetime. When we visit an emergency room, we expect that the care provided will address our urgent illness or injury. Unfortunately, however, emergency rooms are often woefully understaffed and overcrowded, and serious – sometimes deadly – medical mistakes are made.
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury – or even death – as a result of an emergency room doctor’s inaction or negligence, you need an experienced Tampa emergency room errors lawyer on your side representing you. A malpractice attorney can fight for your rights to compensation.
Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act
Any hospital facility that receives Medicare funding is subject to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). Pursuant to this federal statute, an emergency room may not turn away someone seeking medical care, despite that person’s inability to pay for services or lack of health insurance.
Types of Emergency Room Errors
Emergency room and urgent care facilities are extremely busy places, and doctors and hospital staff are trying to care for and keep track of numerous patients at any given time.
Consequently, rushed treatment and inaccurate or missed diagnoses often result in serious injuries to patients. The following types of Tampa emergency room errors are most common:
- Evaluation errors
- Misdiagnosed conditions or illnesses
- Failure to notice symptoms
- Failure to diagnose a serious or life-threatening medical condition
- Prescription medication errors
Proving a Malpractice Case
Emergency room errors fall within the ambit of Florida medical malpractice law. Emergency room doctors owe a duty of care to their patients to act in a reasonable and appropriate manner. Specifically, their actions must comport with those of a reasonably competent emergency room doctor acting under the same or similar circumstances. When an emergency room doctor breaches this standard of care, the doctor may be liable for medical negligence or medical malpractice.
In order to prove medical malpractice in the emergency room or urgent care setting, the injured plaintiff must prove all of the following:
- That a doctor-patient relationship existed
- That the doctor breached the applicable standard of care
- That the plaintiff sustained injuries and damages as a proximate result of the doctor’s breach of the applicable standard of care
In emergency room error cases, the following types of damages may be available to injured plaintiffs:
- Payment of medical bills and expenses
- Payment of lost wages and compensation for missed time from work
- Compensation for past, present, and future pain and suffering
- Compensation for mental anguish and documented psychological or psychiatric injuries
- Compensation for loss of income earning capacity
- Compensation for loss of companionship, consortium, or spousal support
Contacting a Lawyer
If you have been injured as a result of an emergency room doctor’s carelessness or negligence, you need experienced legal representation in your corner every step of the way. Medical malpractice cases are difficult to prove, and an experienced Tampa emergency room errors attorney can review the facts and circumstances of your individual case with you and determine how best to proceed.