Treatment Protocols in the ER

Written by: Kim Bouck, Esq.

When negligent medical care is provided to a patient in the emergency room, there are stringent standards one must prove to initiate a medical malpractice claim against the hospital, ER physician or ER nurse. In most cases, victims of malpractice may have to prove that the “reckless disregard” standard was met.

The reckless disregard standard is a part of established medical malpractice statutes that claim, in emergency situations, the plaintiff must prove that the caregiver demonstrated wanton and willful reckless disregard in the care and outcome of a patient.

One situation where a medical care provider can demonstrate reckless disregard is during the triage phase of a patient’s emergency room visit.  The hospital ER staff is supposed to evaluate each patient when they arrive to determine the degree of urgency needed to attend to each person.  If this is not done correctly or in a timely manner and the patient is injured a result of these failures, there may be a viable malpractice claim.

Another demonstration of reckless disregard can often occur when a medical care protocol is abandoned before completion and for no apparent reason.  For example, an emergency room doctor may commit malpractice if he or she starts working up a cardiac issue for a patient complaining of chest pains but begins to seek out other causes before completely ruling the cardiac issue out.  If the patient then goes on to develop another condition, such as a heart attack, there may likely be a case for medical malpractice.  Opposite of this situation is when an emergency room doctor does not initiate an indicated treatment protocol.   This can happen when a patient complains of severe abdominal pain (with guarding, tenderness and rebound phenomenon) and the proper surgeon is neither notified nor consulted.

If you or a loved one believes to have been the victim of a doctor’s demonstration of reckless disregard or any other type of medical malpractice claim, remember that you always have the option of seeking legal help from a malpractice attorney. The Daytona Beach personal injury attorneys at Rue & Ziffra, P.A. have over 25 years of experience in representing the victims of nursing home abuse, medical malpractice, hospital negligence and other areas of practice.

Rue & Ziffra, P.A., proudly serves areas throughout and around Volusia County and Flagler County, Florida, including, Port Orange, Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach, Edgewater, Ormond Beach, Palm Coast, Flagler Beach, DeLand, Deltona, Bunnell, Orange City, Sanford, Orlando and Leesburg.

The above entry is NOT LEGAL ADVICE and should not be intended or construed as such. It is intended only as general information. No individual reading it should act upon it. Reading this entry does not create any relationship between Rue & Ziffra, P.A. and individuals reading it. If you have questions or concerns, please seek professional legal counsel.


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Allan L. Ziffra is a founding partner and President of Rue & Ziffra, P.A. Connect with Allan Ziffra onGoogle+ or Find us on Google+

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