When someone goes to an emergency room, they expect prompt, competent treatment. If a medical condition is misdiagnosed, not diagnosed, treated inappropriately, or not treated at all, the patient may have a medical malpractice claim.
Emergency room malpractice often involves failure to diagnose:
- Failure to diagnose heart attack during emergency room visit. For example, a young man shows up at the emergency room complaining of severe chest pain. The emergency room doctor dismisses his concerns, briefly examines him, and sends him home for rest. The man dies of a heart attach later that night.
- Failure to diagnose stroke. For example, a man arrives at the emergency room complaining of dizziness, slurred speech and facial weakness. The emergency room doctor misdiagnoses the man, prescribes some medication and sends him home. However, the man has had a stroke and suffers permanent injury due to the failure to diagnose stroke at the emergency room.
- Failure to discover a life-threatening aneurysm. For example, an emergency room doctor fails to recognize the grave danger facing a patient who had an orange-size aneurysm threatening to rupture a major blood vessel in his stomach. Instead of calling a surgeon to examine the patient, the doctor sends him home with a painkiller, a bad choice for a patient at risk of abdominal bleeding. Later that night, the aneurysm bursts and the patient dies.
- Failure to diagnose meningitis. For example, a mother brings her infant to an emergency with fever, irritability that is difficult to calm, decreased appetite, rash, vomiting, and a shrill cry. The doctor prescribes ibuprofen and sends the infant home. The infant later dies from complications of meningitis.
In addition to failure to diagnose, emergency room malpractice can involve:
- Failing to treat a patient in a timely manner. A patient’s condition worsens or a patient dies while in the waiting room.
- Inadequate follow-up. An emergency room doctor sends a patient home and does not follow-up when standard medical care would require some follow-up. This can include not reporting test results.
- Administration of the wrong medication or the wrong dose of a medication.
- Prescription error.
You can get justice after emergency room malpractice. Call 612-338-0202 to contact our medical malpractice lawyers and get your free consultation.