The recent Ebola case in Dallas, Texas raises obvious concerns regarding the need to contain the virus.

Oct 6, 2014

The recent Ebola case in Dallas, Texas raises obvious concerns regarding the need to contain the virus, not only in foreign lands, but also here in the US. But the concerns arising out of the Dallas outbreak could have been prevented had health care professionals exercised reasonable care to evaluate the patient and had they considered obvious risks associated with the history he provided at the time of his presentation. As a medical malpractice attorney in Atlanta, GA, I am asked to review countless cases where health care providers do not appropriately consider the patient’s complaints, and fail to consider the patient and/or the patient’s family’s concerns. The serious situation in Texas, where countless individuals were potentially exposed to a deadly virus, is an extreme example of this problem. What makes is worse in some ways is the fact that other people who were exposed to this deadly illness as a result of the lax intake process at the Dallas hospital have essentially no redress against the hospital.

Texas, like many states, has laws that protect doctors — and particularly emergency room personnel – from liability when their mistakes result in injury to patients. To recover for emergency room mistakes it often has to be established that the doctors intended to cause harm. No one believes that doctors and nurses intend for their patients to be harmed and thus recovery is essentially impossible. But why should a hospital and doctors be protected when they fail to follow basic, necessary and life saving protocols? Health care providers deserve the benefit of the doubt; but they do not deserve immunity from negligent conduct that exposes their patients and others to risk of injury. Where a patient’s condition poses a risk to those beyond the hospital doors, the fallacy of the hospital’s legal protections becomes even more clear. While I hope no one suffers injury as a result of the Texas mishap, if they are perhaps it will draw public attention to the very real problem that hospital immunity causes. As an Atlanta malpractice lawyer, it is my job to hold medical providers, like all individuals, accountable for their failure to follow basic rules of professional conduct.

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