Des Moines Emergency Room Error Attorney
Emergency Room Mistakes & Negligence in Iowa
When we go to the hospital with an emergency, we rightfully expect to be treated with the proper level of care and urgency. Unfortunately, emergency room mistakes not only happen, but they are alarmingly common. Such mistakes can take many forms, from misinterpreting a patient’s symptoms and sending them home without treatment to failing to order proper diagnostic tests to delaying treatment. For those experiencing medical emergencies, the consequences can be disastrous.
If you suffered serious injuries or if your loved one died due to an emergency department’s negligence, LaMarca Law Group, P.C. is here to help. With over 100 years of collective experience, our Des Moines emergency room error attorneys understand how complex these types of cases are, and we know what it takes to prove liability. We address each client’s unique needs and provide personalized legal strategies aimed at securing the maximum possible compensation.
If you received substandard care in an ER, reach out to our team right away to schedule a free, confidential consultation: (515) 705-0233.
Liability in ER Error Cases
While all medical professionals are required to uphold a certain standard of care, the same standard does not apply to all medical providers across all areas of medicine. In fact, emergency room doctors, nurses, assistants, and staff are held to a different standard of care than most medical professionals due to the high-pressure environment in which they work.
Often, emergency room staff must make quick judgments and snap decisions. Even when these decisions do not result in positive outcomes, medical providers cannot be held accountable when they were acting within the standard of care. In other words, if the ER doctor who treated you acted in a reasonable manner, one which you could expect another qualified ER doctor to have also acted in, your doctor was likely not negligent. This means that you may not have grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
However, certain mistakes are inexcusable. If the ER doctor who treated you failed to uphold the standard duty of care, they (and/or the hospital) are liable for your resulting damages. For example, if you visited the ER with common heart attack symptoms but the treating physician did not order any tests after hearing of your symptoms, instead sending you home after diagnosing what you were experiencing as a panic attack, you would likely have grounds for a lawsuit. In such an instance, the treating physician failed to do the minimum baseline act of ordering the appropriate diagnostic tests based on your symptoms. This constitutes a breach of the standard duty of care and, if you suffered measurable damages as a result, you could be entitled to financial compensation.
Fighting for Your Fair Recovery
It can be incredibly difficult to move forward after discovering that a trusted medical professional failed you or a loved one. However, if you or someone you love was the victim of emergency room negligence or malpractice, you deserve justice and a fair chance at recovery.
At LaMarca Law Group, P.C., we have represented countless clients against negligent emergency departments and ER personnel. We have successfully taken on hospitals and other healthcare providers on behalf of individuals and families who suffered immense losses through no fault of their own. Since 1988, we have helped people in Des Moines and throughout the surrounding areas get back on their feet and go on to live full and happy lives.
We are available 24/7 to take your call and provide free initial consultations in person, by phone, or via video conferencing. We offer our services on a contingency fee basis, meaning we do not charge any upfront or out-of-pocket expenses. Instead, our attorneys only get paid if you do.
It can be difficult to imagine that highly trained emergency room personnel would make mistakes. But just like anyone else, ER doctors and nurses are prone to human error. Unfortunately, due to the high stakes involved, the consequences of those errors are often far more significant than others’ mistakes.
The most common emergency room errors include:
- Diagnostic Errors: Issues with failing to properly diagnose an ER patient’s injury, illness, or condition are among the most common of all emergency room errors. Diagnostic errors include misjudging symptoms, failing to order diagnostic tests, misreading test results, misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, and more.
- Failure to Diagnose Heart Attack: Though it is technically a diagnostic error, the failure to diagnose heart attacks is so prevalent, it deserves its own category. When people visit the ER with heart attack symptoms, they are often sent home after ER personnel misinterprets those symptoms as something less serious, such as anxiety. Sadly, this issue disproportionately affects women and people of color.
- Triage Errors: Triage is the practice of assigning degrees of urgency to an individual’s injuries/illness. ER personnel must frequently triage patients who come in to ensure that those with the most serious conditions receive the prompt care they need. Unfortunately, mistakes in this process can have serious—and even deadly—implications.
- Medication Mistakes: In the ER, patients are often given medications to treat various conditions and stabilize those experiencing medical emergencies. Medication mistakes may include errors such as administering the wrong medication or providing medication to the wrong patient, overdosing/underdosing, and failing to take a patient’s medical history (including medication allergies) into account.
- Early Discharge: Often related to diagnostic errors, though not always, early discharge is a significant problem in ERs across the United States. Often, patients will be released before they have received adequate treatment, leading to further injury or even death once the patient has returned home. In some cases, emergency departments may fail to provide patients with adequate follow-up care instructions before discharging them.
These are just some examples of common emergency room errors, but there are many others.
If you believe that you or someone you care about did not receive proper medical care in the ER, leading to injury or death, our firm can help you determine what to do next.
We have dedicated our lives to protecting the rights and futures of injured Iowans. We work to ensure that your case is handled while you focus on your recovery.