EMTALA Revisited by an Emergency Medicine Expert Witness
- Published: Tuesday, 23 March 2010 22:56
The physician's evaluation reveals that when Mr. Jones walks he is a bit unstable, a bit wobbly. The physician writes an order for "out of bed with assistance only". The nurses are aware of the order and before the doctor leaves the hospital he also explained that order to Mr. Jones. Mr. Jones told the physician that he understood and would comply with this order. However, after the doctor left, Mr. Jones decided to go to the bathroom on his own and did not call a nurse for assistance. Unfortunately, he fell and fractured his hip.
Medical negligence claims evolve from polluted medical care. The allegedly substandard care leaves a carbon footprint which can be traced to its origins. Experience with common themes in medical malpractice lawsuits, and an intimate, first-hand knowledge of what proper healthcare delivery actually involves, allows a prospective analysis of negligence claims with the intent to avoid litigation, rather than sustaining the scars of a trial-and-error education.
Sometimes a physician or hospital has liability when using defective products or equipment, but this is not too common.
As background, the courts have usually imposed strict liability principles against those engaged in the production and commerce of defective products and equipment. They reason that it is unfair and unethical to expect an unsuspecting public to have the knowledge or skill necessary to determine product safety. It has been determined repeatedly that the public should be able to trust those engaged in the manufactur and sale of products. Because the public cannot be expected to protect themselves in such situations, those engaged in the production and commerce of such products and who benefit from their sale, must bear the cost of injuries. The resulting litigation becomes a so-called product liability action.