Emergency room doctors, or ER doctors, provide emergency care to patients in acute and sometimes life-threatening situations or patients whose injuries are too severe to wait to see a primary care physician. ER doctors handle a wide array of medical conditions, from trauma due to serious car accidents to heart attacks to cases of the flu.
Medical Malpractice and Emergency Room Doctors in Maryland
Emergency room doctors, unlike other doctors, must focus on overall care provided to the patients in the emergency room. While ER doctors are required to provide their patients with a certain standard level of care, the level can fluctuate based on the circumstances in the doctor's emergency room: if the ER is overcrowded and patients cannot be turned away to nearby hospitals; doctors will need to work quicker to treat their patients even if the level of care drops.
Care in the ER will also differ from the type of care offered by a primary care physician. If the patient does not seem to be in danger, an ER doctor will do minimal tests and will most likely send the patient home to clear space in the ER for more critical patients. Sometimes, innocent conditions become seriously quickly. ER doctors are more likely to miss these warning signs, especially if they are facing a busy ER or are tired from working over extended hours.
Another place negligence can occur is in the triaging process. Nurses and doctors can make mistakes during triage, leaving some patients who are in critical need of care to wait and suffer.
Decisions in the ER are often made quickly and sometimes with minimal amounts of information about the patient. When doctors' judgment fails, patients will suffer.
Educational Requirements For Emergency Room Physicians
Emergency room doctors need to complete a special residency to go into this field of medicine. After completing medical school, future ER doctors will need to complete a three to four year residency under the supervision of certified ER doctors.
Licensing Requirements For ER Doctors
Like all doctors, ER doctors will be required to pass a test to become certified to practice medicine in any state in the country. The test is given on a state-by-state basis.
ER doctors will also need to become board certified by earning an Emergency Medicine Initial Certification (EMIC) given out by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. To receive this certification, doctors will need to complete a three-year emergency room residency, and pass a test at the end.
Many ER doctors will also complete a one to two year fellowship to specialize in a particular field like pediatric emergency medicine or medical toxicology.
Emergency room doctors are required to maintain their certification with an Emergency Medicine Continuous Certification (EMCC). To do this, doctors will need to complete a variety of requirements like: maintain professional standing with a state medical license, pass four Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment tests in the first 5 years of their certification, and participate in Improvement in Medical Practice (IMP) activities. See the full requirements here.
Where Emergency Room Doctors Work
ER doctors work primarily in the Emergency Room of hospitals, but they may also work on other mobile intensive-care units like air ambulances. ER doctors usually work on rotating 8-12 hour shift schedules.
The average salary of an emergency room doctor is about $201,000.
How They Help People
ER doctors focus on stabilizing their patients and treating emergency health needs, and then refer patients to specialized care which can provide more in-depth treatment and diagnosis. ER doctors will assess and diagnosis their patients on a basic level, but many times more specialized care is required.
Emergency room doctors alleviate the pain and suffering of their patients and provide short-term medical care. These doctors are not primary care physicians and are not available to treat chronic conditions unless these conditions lead to emergency situations, such as severe drops or spikes in blood sugar in diabetes patients, or chest pain and angina that is a symptom of a heart attack or other coronary condition.
Patients waiting in an emergency room will be “triaged” upon arrival. This means that the nurses and staff who check patients in will assess the seriousness of the patient's condition and admit patients accordingly. Patients who were in serious car accidents or who have broken bones will be admitted before a patient with less severe symptoms, even if that patient was checked in first.
Before the ER doctor sees the patient, a nurse will review the patient's symptoms and report them the to ER doctor when the doctor is available.
ER doctors do not know the full medical history of the patient and are usually seeing their patients for the first time. They will rely on patients to learn about any medications the patient is taking, any underlying medical conditions, and any allergic reactions.
Emergency room doctors are required by law to treat every person who needs medical attention in the ER, regardless of their ability to pay. They are also required to prepare proper documentation about all patients they treat.
Suing Emergency Room Doctors For Medical Malpractice In Maryland
If you or a loved one suspects that you have suffered an injury as a result of negligent care from an emergency room doctor, you need an experienced medical malpractice attorney to examine your case.
Medical malpractice cases can be complicated and confusing. The attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian have a proven track record of success defending clients across the Mid-Atlantic, and we have a licensed physician on staff who will be able to examine your medical record and determine if there were instances of medical negligence.
Call Gilman & Bedigian today at (800) 529-6162. We will not charge any attorney fees until you get the compensation you deserve.