Most people assume that when they go to a hospital emergency room, they will be provided the medical care and treatment they need for their illness or injury. However, there are many cases in which a person is denied medical treatment in an emergency room. If this has happened to you recently and you feel that you were wrongfully denied treatment, you might be wondering what your options are in dealing with the situation. Get to know some of the factors to consider so that you can determine what you can and should do about an unpleasant situation.
Emergency Rooms Cannot Deny or Delay Care for Chest Pain
One of the biggest legal issues regarding care in an emergency room has to do with the care provided to any person complaining of chest pain. Chest pain, of course, is a common warning sign that a person is having a heart attack or other major cardiac incident.
As such, any person who comes into an emergency room with a complaint of chest pain should be treated immediately and without delay. If treatment is denied for any period of time longer than the minute or two that it takes to move the patient into a room and hook up monitors, this is considered to be in violation of EMTALA (the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act).
As such, if you went into the emergency room experiencing chest pain and did not receive swift treatment, you could have strong grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit on your hands. No matter what your medical history or even your history in the emergency room (i.e. if you have had a false alarm before), you cannot be denied emergency room treatment for chest pain.
Emergency Rooms Cannot Deny or Reduce Care for Financial Reasons
Another issue to keep in mind is the fact that emergency rooms are not allowed to deny care or lessen the amount or quality of care provided to a patient simply due to financial reasons. For example, if you come into the emergency room with a severely injured ankle and do not have medical insurance or the means to pay for care out of pocket, the emergency room is still required to provide you the same level of care they would provide a person with insurance that is capable of covering the medical bills.
In the scenario given, a physical examination as well as some type of radiological scan such as an x-ray, CAT scan, or MRI will also be performed to get a good look at the structure of the ankle. This can help to determine whether it is sprained, broken, strained, or injured in some other way. At least one of these tests will be necessary to rule out other injuries for a diagnosis of an ankle injury and cannot be denied in an emergency room setting due to your financial situation.
Again, if you were similarly denied treatment or tests which resulted in a misdiagnosis and mismanagement of your medical care, you should contact a medical malpractice or personal injury attorney from a law firm like Walsh Fewkes Sterba as soon as possible. It is likely that you will be able to successfully pursue a lawsuit against the hospital, the physicians, or both.
These factors will help you to determine whether or not you can or should pursue a medical malpractice or personal injury lawsuit (as well as potential criminal charges) against the emergency room and staff that denied you care.