While we all try our best to avoid the emergency room, there may come a day where you need urgent critical care. Emergency rooms are fast-paced and at times can feel chaotic. It is no surprise that one of the most challenging positions in the medical position is that of an emergency room physician.
Despite the chaos that can be an emergency room environment, ER physicians are held to the same standards when it comes to caring for their patients. As a result, they and other ER staffers can be held liable for any harm that occurs at the hand of their negligence.
In emergency room-related medical malpractice lawsuits, the plaintiff must be able to prove the following:
There was a doctor-patient relationship and that the treatment provided, or lack of treatment provided, was due to negligence; and the patient sustained forms of harm as a result of the negligence. When a doctor examines a patient or provides them with treatment while the plaintiff is in an emergency room, generally this constitutes a doctor-patient relationship.
Following the formation and proof of a doctor-patient relationship the plaintiff needs to prove the doctor acted negligently by failing to provide the quality of care that other similarly situation and competent doctors would have provided under the same or similar circumstances. This includes showing a standard of care was breached.
Finally, in addition to proving the existence of a doctor-patient relationship and a breach of standard of care which can be interpreted as negligence, a plaintiff must show that the negligence was actual, foreseeable harm. Simply stated, if the patient was not harmed as a result of the negligence, the patient cannot pursue collections under a medical malpractice action.
These three facets of a medical malpractice suit must be met when considering pursuing a medical malpractice suit against a physician. And in an emergency room, amidst all the chaos and confusion that can arise, physicians can at times make negligent mistakes.