There is a term used by emergency rooms trauma surgeons universally. Trauma surgery recognizes what is known as the “golden hour”. The golden hour is a time period lasting from a few minutes to several hours immediately following a traumatic injury, during which time that prompt medical treatment has the highest odds of preventing death. There is no evidence to suggest that survival rates drop off after 60 minutes. The term has come to be used to refer to the core principle of rapid intervention in trauma cases, rather than the narrow meaning of a critical one-hour time period.
Unfortunately, during this critical time, a patient’s outcome may also be irreversibly changed for the worse. In looking at a trauma negligence case there are several things to be considered:
- The emergency room physicians may be at fault for failing to properly and promptly identify the seriousness of the injury and notify the trauma surgeon.
- The trauma surgeon may be liable for failing to promptly and properly respond to calls within the mandated hospital time limits.
- The hospital may be at fault for failing to make available operating room space for trauma patients. 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.
- Communication between the ambulance staff and emergency room physicians is vital in assessing the need for trauma surgery. Communication failures could decrease that “golden hour” to minutes thereby decreasing the patient’s time for critical surgery.
- Hospitals accredited as trauma centers have certain standards that they must follow. Certifications are in place for a reason and provide a standard of care that is vital to the effectiveness of the trauma team, especially the trauma surgeon. If these certifications are not met then this becomes a patient liability.
- The response time of the trauma surgeon speaks to what other hospitals or commitments the doctor may have and if this is viable for the required sense of urgency required for appropriate trauma surgery.
If you or a loved one has suffered due to trauma surgery errors, you may be entitled to financial compensation. The lawyers at Sweeney Law Firm specialize in medical malpractice law and will fight for you or your loved one if you have been the victim of trauma surgery error. There is no cost or obligation for us to evaluate your case. The Sweeney Law Firm works on a contingency fee basis. There is never a fee unless a recovery is made for you.