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Can Emergency Medical Treatment Lead to Medical Malpractice?

January 11, 2018


Any situation in which a doctor owes you a duty of care and breaches that duty of care in the diagnosis, treatment or lack of treatment to you, could lead to medical malpractice.

During emergency situations, it’s important to realize that there are particular rules that apply that are not the same as other medical malpractice scenarios. State laws protect the majority of first responders, for example, from lawsuits. This means that if you allege that your injuries were tied to a paramedic giving you CPR, you may be unable to pursue a medical malpractice claim.

The same protections, however, do not apply to nurses and doctors in the emergency room. However, emergencies on their own will decrease the professional expectations to avoid mistakes. If a patient is injured by medical personnel in an emergency room error, whether or not you have the opportunity to pursue a medical malpractice claim depends on who allegedly acted negligently or recklessly. If it is the medical personnel who first responded to the injury, it is unlikely that you will be able to pursue a claim.

Strong protection is afforded to first responders, who must come onto the scene in a medical emergency immediately. Emergency services are often preserved through legislative action to give strong protection. Otherwise, these first responders would be subjected to common lawsuits. However, normal medical malpractice rules do still apply to doctors and emergency room nurses who make any hospital errors.

Any other medical personnel working in the emergency room at the time you were admitted can be named in a medical malpractice lawsuit. It is your job as the injured patient to prove that a competent doctor in the same situation would have not made the same mistake. This is the crucial element of negligence that is used in all medical malpractice claims. Both sides will likely hire expert witnesses to testify about what a competent doctor would have done in the same situation. Your ability to retain an experienced medical malpractice attorney who is knowledgeable about the use of expert witnesses can make a big different when pursuing a claim.

Do you need help figuring out whether you’ve got grounds for a medical malpractice or personal injury claim? If so, contact Berger & Lagnese, LLC at 412-471-4300 or via our online contact form to get started today.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.


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