12-Year-Old Faces Amputation After 10-Hour Wait In ER
A 12-year-old girl fell and broke her leg at school. Unfortunately, it happens all the time. The family has now filed a lawsuit against the hospital that made her wait 10 hours before finally examining her. By that point, the leg had to be amputated. The plaintiffs claim they told the ER staff that the girl’s leg was getting cold. She was told she would have to wait. 10 hours later, a pediatric surgeon examined the girl and told her that the leg would have to be amputated. The family claims that the girl would still have her leg if she didn’t have to wait 10 hours.
Likely, a jury will believe her. Broken leg accidents don’t routinely result in amputation unless necrosis has set in. Ultimately, the girl’s leg died while she was being told to wait for 10 hours.
Analyzing the claims
The hospital has received notice of the lawsuit and stated that they currently do not have enough information to confirm or deny any of the allegations. This is a good place for their civil defense team to start. We don’t know what happened, but we’re going to investigate. At this point, the plaintiffs are alleging that the hospital failed in its duty of care to timely treat a patient who had presented to their emergency room from a school. However, the plaintiffs will need to establish that the girl’s outcome would have been different had the hospital treated her earlier.
Ultimately, it could come down to the girl’s prognosis when she presented to the emergency room. While we don’t know all of the details of the accident or injury, we do know that the leg will die if it doesn’t get blood supply. So, we can safely assume that while the girl waited for 10 hours before treatment, the leg was losing blood supply. The only thing left for the plaintiffs to establish is that the leg was savable in the first place.
The defense will likely argue or try to argue that the outcome was foreordained prior to the girl’s entry to the ER. Had they gotten to her sooner, she still would have lost her leg. If so, the plaintiffs would not be able to argue that the injury was the outcome of medical malpractice. To prove medical malpractice, you must establish that the alleged medical negligence directly resulted in the injury.
So, the last line of defense for the defendants is to claim that the leg would have been lost either way. Hence, negligence did not occur. In a case like this, it is more likely than not that the plaintiff would still have a leg had the emergency room attended to the girl sooner. But it’s not 100%.
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