Just as quickly as urgent care centers are popping up across the country, so are the number of medical malpractice lawsuits being filed against these medical facilities. The typical long wait and high costs associated with visiting a hospital emergency room have enticed many people to visit urgent care centers for emergency treatment. Unfortunately, urgent care centers do not have access to the same diagnostic or critical care equipment found in hospital emergency rooms, which can lead to serious consequences for the patient.
Urgent care centers are designed to provide immediate and convenient medical services to the general public. They accept insurance and treat patients that prefer private pay. Though urgent care centers are staffed with medical doctors and certified medical assistants and technicians, they are somewhat limited in the diagnostic and emergency services they can provide.
Patients with certain life threatening and seriously complicated conditions need to be transferred to a hospital emergency room at once. These types of conditions include compound fractures, seizures, gunshot and knife wounds, pediatric emergencies, uncontrolled bleeding, burns, pregnancy-related problems, severe head, neck, and back injuries, patients with signs of a stroke, and those with severe abdominal or chest pains. Medical personnel and doctors on staff at urgent care centers need to act quickly and without reservation to get these patients to an emergency room.
Common Lawsuits for Urgent Care Centers
Medical malpractice lawsuits filed against urgent care centers across the country are becoming more common. The most common claim against these facilities is for misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose conditions that led the patient to visit the urgent care facility. Proving medical malpractice is not easy, especially when a doctor can show that they acted in good faith.
A recent medical malpractice claim was brought against an urgent care center by a man that suffered a heart attack at home after visiting the facility for chest pains and abnormal fatigue. The doctor on staff ran an electrocardiogram test and took an assessment of his vital signs, which were both normal. The doctor then diagnosed him with acid reflux and prescribed antacids. The man continued to have chest pains after arriving home and eventually suffered a heart attack later that day.
Though the doctor did a proper assessment of the patient’s health, the lawsuit claims that the doctor failed to listen to the patient when he told him his symptoms were highly abnormal. Had the man been transferred or referred to a hospital emergency room for further diagnostic tests, the heart attack may have been prevented. Fortunately for this man, medical help arrived in time to save his life.