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Malpractice trial over alleged doctor error under way

Maryland residents considering filing a medical malpractice lawsuit might be interested to learn a little bit about the facts related to a recent lawsuit that commenced in a nearby state. The lawsuit involves a 45-year-old mother of three who died while in the care of an emergency room doctor.

The incident in the ER occurred after the mother of three fell and hit her head. She went to the hospital for help. A CT scan was done and it showed that she was bleeding from the brain.

According to the plaintiff, had the woman been treated immediately she would have survived. But because certain standard-of-care procedures were not followed, the woman fell into a coma. Nearly a day later she was operated on, but it was too late. The family chose to take her off life support after being advised that she would not recover.

According to reports, the doctor did a complete head-to-toe evaluation of the patient, ordered all of the appropriate tests, and followed the directions of other of the woman's doctors. The argument being made by the plaintiffs, however, is about the role of an ER physician.

According to the plaintiffs' attorney, "emergency room medicine is a medical specialty, with its own medical specialty board. An ER doctor is trained to see certain medical conditions and disorders. He is not just a traffic director."

The issue in this case, as in all medical malpractice cases, is whether the level of care that was provided was reasonable under the circumstances. To determine this, the court will consider care provided by similarly situated ER doctors throughout the profession.

Understanding this question may help other litigants going forward.

Source: North Jersey, "Medical negligence trial involving Chilton doctor gets under way," John Petrick, April 26, 2012

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