Allegations of ER Triage Negligence

emergency medicine expert witness

Emergency room treatment is exacting and fast-paced. When treatment deviates from the medical standard of care, errors may lead to serious or fatal injuries. Three of the most common errors alleged in ER medicine negligence cases are misdiagnosis, failure to provide proper treatment and inadequate patient tracking (triage). The family of a 52-year-old man is suing Cayuga Medical Center at Ithaca, NY, following his death in the hospital’s ER.  He was triaged at level four, which is classified as “less urgent.” However, the complaint states that the nurse never checked his vital signs. Two hours after his arrival at the hospital, he was found dead in the waiting room.

Allen Phelps, brother of the deceased, filed a lawsuit naming the supervising emergency room physician, Dr. Steven Elliott, the Cayuga Medical Center, Cayuga Emergency Physicians LLP, as well as two nurses and the receptionist. The complaint alleges that the hospital was understaffed and was negligent in training staff in proper ER procedures. As a result, staff did not monitor Mr. Phelps properly or give him appropriate care. The complaint states:

Upon information and belief, when decedent first arrived at Defendant Center, Defendants failed to appropriately assess and triage the decedent before referring the decedent to the waiting room which are deviations from accepted medical standards and against hospital policy and procedure…

Upon information and belief, many complaints were made to Defendant Center about it having insufficient staffing and that patients were at risk of injury prior to January 19, 2017, and Defendant Center did nothing about it.

Medical malpractice litigation is complex and can take several years to settle. Most states require plaintiffs to have a medical expert witness who is qualified to testify regarding the standard of care the patient received. These experts evaluate medical records and testify as to whether protocol was breached and may have resulted in harm to the patient. Contact ELITE Medical Experts to speak directly with a physician or nurse who will connect you with the exact resources for your case.


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