There is a different standard for medical malpractice claims in an emergency compared to other healthcare situations. In general, the law takes into account that medical personnel who work in emergency situations will have to use rapid judgment in circumstances that often have a low chance of a positive outcome.
However, there is still a chance that malpractice could occur in an emergency. Below are a few examples of who could potentially be liable in those situations.
First responders and emergency medical technicians receive a great deal of protection under the law, as they typically must act quickly and without hesitation to save a life. This does not mean they are completely protected against malpractice claims, however. If a first responder does something reckless, obviously negligent or intentional, malpractice could be at play.
In such a case, it is the employer of the first responder — rather than the first responder as an individual — that would be legally and/or financially responsible.
ER doctors and nurses
Emergency room personnel do not have the same leeway as first responders. In these cases, as in any other malpractice case, the patient must be able to prove that a competent doctor working in the same circumstances would not have made the same error as the doctor who caused the alleged injury or illness.
Again, there is still an understanding that the emergency room has an inherent level of urgency that does not allow for calm deliberation. Therefore, the mistake typically must be quite severe to be deemed negligence. In most cases, the hospital will be responsible for any malpractice caused by emergency room personnel.
For more information on the standards of medical malpractice in emergency situations, contact a skilled San Diego attorney with Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire.