Thousands of people in Cook County and around the state rely on emergency rooms when they need sudden medical care. From severe illnesses to broken bones to heart attacks or strokes, emergency rooms should provide quick and competent care that serves as a gateway to the rest of the hospital’s services.
Although the doctors and nurses who work in emergency rooms are well-trained and typically have access to the latest medical technology, errors that occur in emergency rooms are common. When these errors result in a new injury or cause an existing condition to worsen, the attending medical professionals may have committed medical malpractice.
A Cook County emergency room errors lawyer could help you evaluate the care you received when visiting an emergency room and determine if it qualifies as medical malpractice. If so, your attorney could then work to gather evidence of malpractice and use that evidence to demand compensation for your losses.
Doctors and nurses who work in emergency rooms often treat patients in emergency situations and must make quick and effective decisions concerning treatment for all. In addition, these doctors often work long hours, sometimes with little time for rest. As a result, errors can unfortunately be common.
The first thing that all emergency doctors should do is diagnose the problem. For example, if a patient comes into the ER complaining of chest pain, it may be proper for the doctor to take x-rays of the chest, examine the area for any obvious trauma, and perform blood work to check for a heart attack. A failure to perform these steps may qualify as malpractice if it causes a delay in diagnosing or total failure to diagnose the problem.
ER doctors may also commit malpractice if they improperly perform important procedures. A condition such as a broken leg should involve taking x-rays to locate the break, setting the bone, placing a cast over the area, and taking steps to prevent infection. A failure to properly take these steps may cause further injury, and a Cook County emergency room errors attorney could help evaluate legal steps to take in response.
Not every example of a poor outcome in an ER rises to the level of malpractice. Still, doctors have a duty to perform to a certain level of care that gives their patients the best possible chance for a positive outcome.
According to Illinois Jury Instruction 105.01, any medical professional must perform their job with the level of “…skill, care, and knowledge used by a reasonably careful peer”—in other words, they must perform to a reasonable level of competence. To prevail in an emergency room error case, a plaintiff must prove that their injuries resulted from a failure to perform to this standard.
To accomplish this, a successful case almost always involves working with a medical expert in addition to a Cook County lawyer experienced with emergency room mistakes. Because these cases will rely upon scientific evidence of malpractice, an expert is needed to testify in court about the medical facts of the case.
In fact, a plaintiff cannot even file a complaint in court without working with an expert. 735 Illinois Compiled Statutes 5/2-622 requires any plaintiff alleging medical malpractice to submit an affidavit completed by a medical expert which affirms the expert’s good-faith belief that malpractice has occurred.
People who visit emergency rooms for urgent medical care have a right to receive treatment from competent medical professionals. Doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff who fail to provide this care in a reasonable manner may commit malpractice. If this malpractice causes a new injury or exacerbates an existing condition, you may be able to demand compensation.
A Cook County emergency room errors lawyer could help you pursue this compensation by examining the facts of the case, working with a medical expert who may testify on your behalf, and demanding appropriate payments for your losses. Contact an attorney today to discuss your case.