Boston Emergency Room Negligence Attorneys
Across Boston and Massachusetts, people visit emergency rooms for all sorts of maladies, often waiting for hours to be seen by a doctor in a hurry. Sometimes, that doctor misdiagnoses a patient or provides the incorrect treatment. This is called emergency room negligence, and if you think you were a victim of it, you deserve legal representation to get you compensated for the hospital’s mistake.
In an emergency room, many nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals work at a frantic pace. It is often a hectic environment with nurses running around, residents and interns scurrying to treat patients, and families trying to get information on their loved ones. Even with all the hustle, emergency rooms should have a system in place to track patients and ensure everyone is receiving the proper treatment. When patients are not treated properly or even neglected, it can result in serious injury or even death. When doctors are in a rush, they can miss key details in your medical records.
If an emergency room doctor, nurse, or other professional fails to meet an adequate standard of care for every patient, the consequences could be devastating. As patients, we have the right to expect that we’ll receive competent, responsible care in an emergency situation, and if a professional fails in their duties, we could be severely or gravely harmed.
If you or a loved one is a victim of emergency room negligence, you have the right to hold the medical professional responsible accountable. At Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, we work with Boston medical malpractice victims to help them get the award they need to cover the bills, emotional trauma, and more that they endured. Give us a call today at (617) 404-3417 to start your free consultation with one of our Boston medical malpractice attorneys.
How You Might Be Neglected in an Emergency Room
There are several ways that a patient could experience negligence while in an emergency room. Negligence can happen at any level, from the admissions procedure up to the surgeon who gets rushed and does not follow the correct guidelines for operating.
Ways that patients could face negligence include:
- Errors in Admission – During the admissions process, patients should get a medical history, a list of current medications, and any known allergies. This part should be quick, but also thorough so that the medical professionals know how to treat you or your loved one. If these questions are not asked and you suffer adverse effects, then you could have lifelong consequences.
- Triage Mistakes – When ERs are crowded, the staff often has to assess patients to see who should be the first priority. This is called triage. Since they may be in a rush, they could neglect to diagnose an emergency condition that could be hidden, like internal bleeding.
- Nurse Negligence – If nurses get busy or overwhelmed, they could end up neglecting patients while caring for others. This neglect could lead to you receiving sub-par care or being ignored as your condition worsens.
- Misdiagnosis of Emergent Conditions – Sometimes, emergent conditions could be diagnosed as something else. For example, heart attacks in women present differently than the traditional view we see on TV. If a doctor misdiagnoses something, it could lead to patient death.
- Medication Errors – If the wrong medication is given, or a mistake is made in the dosage administered, that could spell disaster for the patient. Emergency room staff have to verify that medication is correct before giving it to anyone, and they should also check to make sure the patient has no allergies to that medicine.
- Ignoring Patients with No Insurance – On occasion, a hospital may send a patient away if they determine they have no insurance. If that person has an emergent condition and passes away as a result, that could be a form of negligence.
- Lack of Thorough Testing – Doctors usually have to run a full panel of tests to determine what is going on with a patient. If they skip out on testing or do not perform enough tests, they could misdiagnose or miss an emergency that is not readily apparent.
- Doctor Negligence – Like nurses, doctors, and surgeons in the ER work constantly. They may be called away to treat another patient and neglect you or your loved one in the process, resulting in a worsening condition.
- Failing to Monitor Patients – All ER patients should be monitored and receive frequent check-ups, even at the nurses’ station. If a patient is not monitored correctly, staff could miss something crucial that is needed for their treatment.
- Discharging Patient Early – Hospitals can sometimes discharge patients quickly, perhaps to free up bed space. If they rush through your treatment and send you home where another emergency occurs, they could be liable.
Who Is Liable in an Emergency Room Negligence Case
Most of the time, ER doctors and nurses receive more protection against malpractice claims because of the nature of their job. Emergency rooms are busy and hectic, so some errors may happen that are out of their control.
However, if they fail to provide the basic standard of care by committing a form of negligence, then they can be held liable. The doctor, nurses, and even the hospital could potentially be liable for what happened to you and your loved one. A Boston medical malpractice lawyer can help you determine who has the liability in your specific case.
Why You Should Consider Hiring an Attorney
In cases of emergency room malpractice, it may be more difficult to prove negligence since ER staff usually gets more leeway. For this reason alone, you may want to consider hiring an attorney, as they can work to prove your case while you work on recovering. Your lawyer will try to prove that staff did not adhere to a standard of care when they were treating you, thus demonstrating negligence.
Additionally, the attorney will take care of communicating with all involved parties for you. They will arrange negotiations, speak with the hospital’s legal team, and talk with insurance companies. Without a lawyer, the insurance company could try to take advantage of you and offer you a lower settlement than what you deserve, which is not fair to you.
Your attorney will make sure your claim is filed before the Massachusetts statute of limitations expires, which in most malpractice cases is three years from the date of the malpractice or when it was discovered. If your claim is filed too late, you will likely be deemed ineligible to collect an award, pending any extenuating circumstances of your case.
Types of Compensation You Could Collect
When you suffer from emergency room negligence and can prove that there was malpractice, then there are certain types of compensation that you can include in your claim. In Massachusetts, malpractice claims are usually limited to $500,000 unless the jury or courts decide that it is not enough to fairly compensate you for what happened. That cap does include both economic and non-economic damages such as:
- Pain and Suffering – These non-economic damages are to help you recover from the mental and emotional trauma that you endured after emergency room negligence. It’s considered non-economic because it’s not an easily quantifiable loss.
- Medical Costs – Hospital bills, surgery, follow-up visits, and other medical bills should be claimed so that you can get compensated for them.
- Loss of Earnings – If you suffer a traumatic injury as a result of emergency room negligence, then you may miss out on time at work. Along with that, you may not be able to return to your previous job. You can claim the earnings you lost as well as any potential future earnings.
- Wrongful Death – Losing a loved one is horrible, especially when it’s known that they died as a result of negligence by a medical professional. A wrongful death claim is not intended to replace what your loved one brought to the family, but it is there to help you as you find a new normal without them. You can claim funeral costs, loss of income, loss of companionship, and more.
If You Suffered Emergency Room Negligence, Call Us Today
At Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, we have helped many medical malpractice victims recover the compensation they need and deserve. Going through something traumatic like emergency room negligence is tough, but our attorneys are here to help you through it all. If you are concerned about financial obligations, know that our team operates on a contingency fee basis. We will not ask you for any sort of payment until you win your case, and once that happens, we will take a percentage of the award.
Call us today at (617) 404-3417 if you are wondering what to do after an ER visit that left you reeling due to malpractice. We will walk you through the case, talk about what happened to you, and let you know how our lawyers will work with you.