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Emergency Department Expert Witness

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The emergency department of a hospital, clinic, or medical facility is essential because its physicians, nurses, and other personnel are responsible for responding to emergency situations. They must be qualified to handle trauma and triage situations.

One of AME's emergency department expert witnesses has written an exclusive medical malpractice article that we have provided, for your interest, below.

The Emergency Department and Corporate Responsibility

The evaluation of patient care in the hospital emergency department often focuses only on the care itself and the practitioners that delivered that care. Too often, the responsibilities of the hospital in providing that care is overlooked or not looked at from the perspective of their corporate responsibilities. This is where a Hospital Administration Expert will answer those questions and fill the need from the corporate perspective. 

It is usually well understood that the hospital must comply with the standards promulgated by federal, state, and local authorities, including such things as the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act and regional trauma regulations; the hospital must also comply with the standards of the Joint Commission if they are an accredited hospital.

These Joint Commission standards are widely accepted in the United States as the standard of care for the provision of inpatient and ambulatory hospital care, and describe the accountability and responsibility of hospital leaders in the delivery of care at their facilities. Joint Commission standards require that hospital leaders establish a governance structure and management systems to oversee that appropriate rules, regulations, infrastructure, credentialing, and communication processes are in place to deliver high quality and safe care to their patients. The hospital is further required to establish systems to monitor the effectiveness of care and to correct any deficiencies. Ultimately, the hospital is responsible for the oversight of all professional services provided by its medical staff, employees, and any others that it credentials or contracts with to practice at the hospital, including emergency department contract physicians. Joint Commission standards are also used by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to determine compliance with the requirements of these programs, and are also used and accepted as the standard of care for hospital licensure in many states.

It is increasingly common for hospitals to contract for emergency department physician services and presume that the contract with the physician company addresses all their responsibilities. This is not the case, as the hospital remains responsible for all patient care services that take place, and they must have the required policies and procedures in place to direct that care and, most importantly, must make certain that those policies are followed by the contract staff and all hospital employees as well.

In the emergency department, these policies often focus on such things as timely care, accurate performance of diagnostic tests, and the communication of critical test result information to clinicians and patients. A common problem that occurs is the test result that comes back after the patient is discharged that is never communicated to the patient or their primary care physician. Another situation that may happen in many smaller hospitals is the use of part-time staff to read test results and this may be delayed due to the hours that the staff is present.

In the evaluation of emergency department cases, it is recommended that risk managers and legal counsel, both defense and plaintiff, look at whether the hospital has fulfilled their corporate responsibilities in providing care and not just look at the medical care itself.

The Hospital Administrator who prepared this article is available as an expert witness for your cases, please call our office at 888-678-EXPERTS (888-678-3973) to get started or follow the steps online on How to send a case to AME.



American Medical Experts (AME) is the Nation’s Leading Source of Medical Experts for Case Review and Testimony. We are a trusted partner of both Plaintiff and Defense Attorneys nationwide because we work directly with the most credible expert witnesses.

American Medical Experts offers the lowest rates in the industry for Complete Case Reviews ($695) and Expert Witness Reports ($995). Affidavits of Merit, Petitions, and Certificates of Merit (depending on your state requirements) are also available at the lowest rates. American Medical Experts works with the most Experienced and Credible Medical Expert Witnesses in the country.


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