Urgent Care Center Loses $9M Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
A jury awarded $9 million to the family of Hope Johnson after the Alabama native died after receiving treatment from an urgent care center. The doctors incorrectly diagnosed the woman’s condition and sent her home with an inhaler as opposed to calling 911. She died the next day with blood clots in her lungs.
The family says that the Urgent Care Center violated its duty of care when the misdiagnosed the woman. An Alabama jury agreed.
The question is how often do urgent care centers make these types of mistakes?
Medical Negligence and Urgent Care Centers
Urgent care centers operate as a hybrid between emergency rooms and public health clinics. In cases where the care center encounters a patient with a problem for which they have difficultly treating, the doctors on duty should call 911 and have an ambulance take them to the hospital. That’s precisely what did not happen in the case of Hope Johnson.
Urgent care centers are good for treating some times of acute trauma such as broken bones, burns, or lacerations that require stitches. They are not typically designed to treat those with life-threatening illnesses such as heart attacks or strokes. Their purpose in the health care industry is to take some of the pressure off of emergency rooms. However, they cannot replace emergency rooms.
The majority of malpractice lawsuits involving urgent care centers stem from medication errors or misdiagnosis. However, there have been some more serious violations regarding the sanitary conditions at such centers and surgical errors.
In some cases, we see urgent care centers that are understaffed or have staff that are not properly trained.
Whatever the situation is, urgent care centers have the same duty of care that any medical doctor or primary care physician has toward their patients. When the provide substandard medical care, they can be held legally responsible for any injuries that occur to their patient.
Failure to Transfer Patient to the Hospital Lawsuits
The case mentioned above is not the only one in which an urgent care center had been sued for failing to transfer a patient to the hospital. In fact, these are some of the most common cases of medical malpractice against urgent care centers.
The urgent care center has a duty to correctly identify the ailment and then send the patient to the hospital if their medical issue is outside of the scope of the types of cases that they can handle. When they do not and a patient dies or suffers lifelong complications as a result of the failure, the patient may have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the urgent care center and the treating doctor.
Talk to a Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured by a negligent doctor, the St. Petersburg medical malpractice attorneys at Masterson, Hoag & Smith can help you recover damages related to your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.