How Delayed Hospital Treatment Can Harm You

Most people expect longer wait times when they go to the emergency room, especially if they are not experiencing an immediate life-threatening situation. Most individuals who go to the ER go through a triage process initiated by intake personnel, usually a nurse. However, what if your wait time at the hospital was incredibly long? Can you file a lawsuit against the hospital? If you sustained an injury or illness, or your injury or illness worsened because of the wait time, could the hospital be held viable?

How Delayed Treatment Can Harm You

Simply put, delayed treatment can lead to significant injuries or even death. When a person does not receive treatment in a timely manner, this could lead to a person receiving a delayed diagnosis or not being diagnosed with a condition at all. For example, if an infection diagnosis gets delayed or is not discovered because of hospital wait times, the infection could spread to vital organs and cause irreparable harm.

Was the Delay a Deviation in the Standard of Care?

Delayed medical treatment at a hospital does not always signify medical malpractice. However, delayed treatment could be considered malpractice if the delay occurred due to unreasonable circumstances. To evaluate whether or not the delay was reasonable or unreasonable, we have to examine whether an adequate standard of medical care was upheld.

When defining the standard of care for medicine, we have to examine how a similarly trained medical professional in a similar type of situation would respond to the same circumstances. If, in this scenario, the delay would be seen as appropriate, then there likely will not be an issue with the standard of care. Thus, no malpractice likely occurred. 

However, if an examination of the situation determines that the delay was unreasonable and that there was a deviation from what would be considered an adequate standard of medical care, the affected individual may be able to move forward with a medical malpractice lawsuit. 

In order to show that there was a deviation from the standard of medical care, there will need to be an extensive investigation that includes an examination of the patient’s medical records as well as consultations with trusted medical experts in the same medical field. For most cases involving hospital-delayed treatment, the triaging process of an emergency department gets examined. If a doctor or nurse placed a person into the wrong triage category, leading to significant treatment delays, this could signal a deviation from the standard of medical care.

Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer for Help 

If you or somebody you love has been injured due to the negligent actions of a medical provider, we encourage you to speak to an attorney immediately. If you think you or a loved one were harmed because a hospital made you wait too long, you may be able to recover compensation. A medical malpractice lawyer in Seattle can investigate your claim and help you determine the best path forward for recovering compensation. Claims related to hospital wait times become incredibly challenging, and you need an attorney with extensive experience handling medical malpractice claims by your side.