Trauma surgery recognizes what is known as the “golden hour”. That golden hour is the 60 minutes immediately following trauma injury and it is during that 60 minutes that the patient’s outcome is often irreversibly changed for the worse. As such, time is of the essence.In looking at a trauma negligence case from a medical malpractice point of view there are several things to be considered:
- The emergency room physicians may be liable for failing to promptly identify the seriousness of the injury and call the trauma surgeon.
- The trauma surgeon may be liable for failing to promptly respond to calls within the time limits that may be mandated by the hospital.
- The hospital may be liable for failing to make available operative space to accommodate trauma patients. In particular, if the operating rooms are all occupied for elective surgeries thereby precluding their use for trauma patients that may be negligence on the part of the hospital.
- Reviewing the tape recordings of interaction between the ambulance personnel and the emergency room physicians may be critical in terms of overall assessment of the case.
- If a hospital is certified by a State agency as a trauma center, then it may be necessary to get that certification and any records associated with it.
- In evaluating the response time of the trauma surgeon it needs to be determined what other hospital this doctor may have had commitments at to determine whether or not the physician in fact was available for a trauma emergency call.
- The marketing materials published by or on behalf of the hospital may show how it portrays itself to the public as a trauma center.
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