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Proving Liability for Triage Errors

Syracuse Lawyers to Establish Liability for Triage Errors

Emergency rooms are known to be difficult environments. Often, they’re hectic and full of people who need urgent help for a medical problem. Unfortunately, the environment may give rise to errors in judgment by doctors, staff members, and others in the facility. When you and others arrive at the ER, the first step will be for the staff to determine which patients have the most serious injuries and to coordinate for them to see the doctor in the right order. Patients who have the most serious injuries see the doctor first, but sometimes there are multiple patients with serious injuries and so the person in charge of triaging will need to act quickly to make sure the most urgent case goes first; this process is known as triage. For example, if you have a bullet wound, you likely need to see a doctor more urgently than a patient who has a simple broken arm. An error in triaging the cases that come to the ER can result in serious harm, including catastrophic injuries or wrongful death. If you were injured or a loved one was killed due to a triage error, you should discuss your situation with the experienced Syracuse emergency malpractice lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano. We have more than 30 years of experience seeking best outcomes for ER patients and their families and establishing liability.

Liability for Triage Errors

Triage errors are rarely the result of intentional misconduct. More often they are the result of staff member’s significant pressure and fatigue. However, all health care providers are expected to abide by the professional standard of care that applies to the circumstances. This includes following rules used to triage patients in the ER. The standards for emergency room medical care are different than those for care provided on a more routine basis.

Errors made during triage can result in a patient being sent away without receiving care or a misdiagnosis. For example, if the emergency room diagnoses you with indigestion when the correct diagnosis was a heart attack, your treatment may be delayed, and the resulting heart attack could result in more losses than would have been incurred with timely treatment. For another example, when emergency care is needed for smoke inhalation, but a nurse misinterprets the injuries as minor, a patient could die; the patient’s family may need to file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages arising out of the death. Sometimes there are errors made while performing a procedure, even though the triage was conducted appropriately. For instance, if you undergo a timely emergency appendectomy, but the anesthesiologist makes an error in administering anesthesia that leaves you partially brain damaged, you may be able to recover damages for that brain injury.

Proving Professional Negligence Caused a Triage Error

To prove ER negligence, we would need to show that the medical staff or providers in your case departed from the accepted practices of the medical community in that specialty and geographical region. It can be difficult to make this showing, and we would need to retain an expert on what the professional standard of care was and how your doctor departed from it. We would file a certificate of merit with your complaint. In some cases, multiple experts must be consulted to determine whether a triage failure is actionable.

Minors’ Claims

If your child was harmed by a triage or other ER mistake, you may be able to recover damages on his or her behalf. It is crucial to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. As a parent you may not be sure whether the way the ER responded to your child was appropriate, and these cases can be complex, making it important to consult a lawyer about appropriate next steps. In some cases, involving a minor’s injuries that are disabling and were preventable, a structured settlement may be negotiated.

Consult a Seasoned Syracuse ER Malpractice Law Firm

It is crucial to consult a veteran Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer to achieve the best outcome in your ER malpractice case. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Attorneys has represented injured patients and their families in triage error cases in Buffalo, Albany, Lowville, Rochester, Auburn, Watertown, Herkimer, Oswego, Wampsville, Canandaigua, Lyons, Ithaca, Cooperstown, Oneida, Utica, Binghamton, Elmira, and all of Upstate New York for more than 30 years. For a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 315-479-9000.

Client Reviews
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"We were very impressed with how Jeff DeFrancisco represented us at trial and we were extremely happy when the jury found in our favor." D.M., Auburn, NY
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"I cannot express in words what an awesome job Charlie Falgiatano and Jean Marie Westlake did in representing my family in my mother's case at trial. There can never be enough thank-yous." D.L., Cortland, NY
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"I suffered a serious injury as a result of medical malpractice. My husband and I retained Jeff DeFrancisco to assist us in this case. We were extremely happy with his representation and highly recommend him." Kelley R., Syracuse, NY
★★★★★
Since the insurance company was unwilling to settle the matter my case ultimately went to trial. At trial Jeff DeFrancisco did an absolutely amazing job by obtaining a very favorable result for me." T.H., Oneida, NY
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"I highly recommend DeFrancisco & Falgiatano - Charlie represented me for a medical malpractice case. He is the best of the best. He is friendly and I am very happy with the representation he provided." Roger N., Oneida, NY