Holding the Hospital Responsible for Injurious Mistakes Committed in Emergency Departments
Emergency departments or emergency rooms (ERs) are always the busiest hospital areas. These are, most often than not, overcrowded and chaotic, due to the continuous arrival of patients. So many of these patients demand immediate medical treatment; however, some demands are just more pressing than others, thus many wait for very long hours before they are attended to.
Despite being overcrowded, many emergency departments do not have enough nurses, staff and/or specialist physicians. This results to overworked or stressed ER personnel, mix-up of patient information, which happens especially during shift changes, lack of timely access to laboratory and/or radiology reports, medical decisions made despite lack of essential information about patient, prescription of wrong medication, and poor communication and lack of collaboration between nurses and doctors which, in turn, usually leads to incorrect assessment of many patients’ real health complaints. No wonder, incorrect or wrong diagnosis is the basis of thousands of lawsuits under medical malpractice every year.
Liability in medical malpractice lawsuits are about people being held responsible for actions that they commit or fail to perform. There are times, though, when, instead of putting the blame on the specific members of the medical staff who committed the mistakes, blame is, instead, placed on the hospital where the error was committed, regardless of who committed it. This action is called “vicarious liability,” and it is usually the course of legal action in medical malpractice lawsuits.
In vicarious liability, the hospital or the employer of an erring nurse or doctor, for example, is the one held accountable for the injurious mistake, so long as it can be proven that the mistake was committed during the course of said nurse’s or doctor’s employment. Thus, in the lawsuit that will be filed, it is the hospital which will be named as defendant. This is the move often taken in civil lawsuits, knowing for a fact that the hospital’s insurance carrier will surely be able to pay the damages to the patient harmed.
As explained by West Palm Beach personal injury lawyers of Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., the complexity of hospital systems and the frequency of oversight by hospital administration, have often resulted to failure in the provision of quality medical care, not enough number of staff, and/or employee negligence, especially by employees in ERs. Acts of negligence, in turn, leave many patients with more serious injuries or dead, as well as with extensive medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses that they never should have incurred in the first place.
Though medical malpractice cases involving hospitals may be difficult to pursue due to the complicated nature of medical negligence, being able to make a claim against a hospital may just be possible if injured patients will allow experienced personal injury or medical malpractice lawyers to represent them.