On November 8, 2017, the distraught parents of a four-year-old child who died shortly after being seen in a Texas freestanding emergency room filed a Texas medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit against the for-profit corporate owner of the facility, alleging that the medical misdiagnosis of their child led to her unnecessary death. The “doctor” who saw the little girl at the emergency facility was a resident who had not yet completed training to become a Board-certified emergency medicine specialist, which the parents were not told and which they allege required that the doctor be properly supervised at the time their daughter was seen and misdiagnosed.
The parents allege in their Texas medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit that at about two o’clock in the morning on August 7, 2016, they drove their young daughter to the nearest emergency medical facility, which was less than one mile from their home, because the little girl had a fever (she was alert at that time and her fever had dropped from its high of 101 degrees). The medical staff at the freestanding emergency room noted that the child’s heart rate was elevated and her breathing was abnormal. Lab tests were ordered and she was given fluids at the facility. She was then discharged to home, with an antibiotic to treat an ear infection.
Less than five hours after arriving home, the child’s father found her in bed, blue in color, cold to the touch, and vomit on her face. The parents rushed their child back to the freestanding ER but by the time they arrived, the little girl was in full cardiopulmonary arrest. Resuscitative efforts were unsuccessful and the little girl died. An autopsy determined that the child died as a result of bacterial meningitis, which the doctor at the freestanding emergency clinic had failed to diagnose.
The parents allege in their Texas medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit that the doctor who treated their daughter in the freestanding emergency facility, and the owner of the facility, were medically negligent in failing to diagnose the child’s serious and life-threatening condition, and failed to promptly arrange to transfer her to a hospital. The Texas medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit alleges that the for-profit corporate owner of the freestanding emergency room negligently failed to staff its facility with appropriately qualified and experienced physicians.
There are approximately 360 freestanding emergency departments in the United States. The freestanding emergency departments are located in 30 states. The U.S. states with the highest number of freestanding emergency departments are Texas (181), Ohio (34), and Colorado (24). The freestanding emergency departments are located in areas with a better payer-mix, and not in areas with fewer health services.
In most U.S. states, freestanding emergency departments that do not accept Medicare and Medicaid do not need to comply with the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), which allows them to accept only patients who can pay or who have private health insurance. Some U.S. states allow freestanding emergency departments to bypass the certificate-of-need process.
If you or a loved one suffered serious injury (or worse) as a result of medical negligence at a freestanding emergency room in Texas or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a medical malpractice lawyer in Texas or in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
Visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to find medical malpractice attorneys in your U.S. state who may assist you.
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