The emergency room and emergency department staff play a critical role in people’s medical care. Not only is it a place where people go for a medical emergency, but do to a lack of insurance or high deductibles it can also serve as many people’s place of primary care when they have a medical issue. When you have a serious medical issue your treatment may be more extensive than what the ER can handle requiring your admission to the hospital. Unfortunately there are times when patients who have a major underlying medical problem are not admitted resulting in serious harm or even death.
Is it negligent if you or a family member was not admitted to the hospital?
The answer is it depends. There could be times where you are not triaged correctly – where it is determined how emergent your medical issue is. If that happens you may not be seen by an emergency room doctor resulting in a serious medical problem that requires admission to the hospital being missed. Even if seen by an emergency room doctor they may not get a full medical history from you, or miss important symptoms you are exhibiting, misdiagnose you, and discharge you as a result. The doctor may also not order important diagnostic tests – such as blood work, X-Rays, or CT scans – that should have been ordered to give an accurate picture of your problems. In some cases a person may go to the ER multiple times about an unresolved medical issue and get discharged without admission each time. While it may have been reasonable not to admit the first time, it may not have been reasonable care to not admit after multiple follow ups.
Whether or not it was reasonable for the ER staff and doctor not to admit you depends on a review of your records to see what your complaints were, and whether those complaints should have led to more extensive treatment, diagnostic studies, and ultimately admission to the hospital. Also the above scenarios are just a few examples of potential negligence that resulted in you or your family member not being admitted to the hospital. There could be additional factors at play that you may learn of as a case proceeds, records are exchanged, and depositions are taken.
To have a case for medical malpractice for not being admitted to the ER you have to prove more than that there was just negligence in your medical care though. You have to prove causation as well. This means that you have to prove that but for the defendant’s negligence, you or your family member would have had a good outcome if you were admitted to the hospital. This can normally be an issue where your family member passes away. In such instances you must show that your family member’s medical condition was not at a stage that, even with admission and earlier treatment, they would have passed away regardless. This can require an additional medical expert on causation and add more expenses to your case. Because of this it is important to have an attorney who is experienced in handling medical malpractice cases, and is willing to take on their steep expense, to review your case.
What kind of damages do I need to prove?
The final element you must prove in order to have a case is your damages – such as lost wages, medical costs, and pain and suffering. If your family member passed away as a result of not being admitted to the hospital you would have to show what care and support that family member was providing to the rest of your family as well.
The Thistle Law Firm is experienced at handling medical malpractice cases for medical staff negligently not admitting a patient to the hospital. If you or a loved one suffered serious harm as a result of not being admitted to a hospital the attorneys at the Thistle Law Firm are here to take your call and answer your questions at 215-568-6800.