According to many news outlets, recently an ambulance crashed while transporting a patient from the hospital to home for palliative care. The patient was a 64-year-old man who was battling cancer and heading home to continue his battle. A young EMT was driving the ambulance, and a second EMT was in the back of the ambulance treating the patient. The driver fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a tree, killing the patient and seriously injuring the other EMT. The driver was also severely injured.
Many people ask is this medical malpractice? Or is this negligence like a motor vehicle accident? Or is it both?
Ambulance companies and EMTs can be liable for medical malpractice. In fact, any medical provider can be liable for medical malpractice. Many times victims of EMT errors has resulted in compensation under a theory of medical malpractice.
But when an ambulance is transporting a patient, the cause of the injury is not medical malpractice but actually based on a motor vehicle accident. This means that it is an ordinarily negligence case involving a car crash, where a defendant fails to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances in the use and operation of the vehicle. When a driver falls asleep at the wheel, that is just negligence.
Technically, medical malpractice is just a type of negligence. Medical malpractice is just a negligent act or omissions which causes personal injury to a patient. The standard of care is based on another healthcare provider with similar training and knowledge in similar circumstances.
While there can absolutely be instances where an ambulance can be liable for medical malpractice while it is transporting a patient on the road, these circumstances are really based on a motor vehicle standard.
However, if it turns out that the patient died due to negligent healthcare following the accident, it could end up being both—or at least both claims would be alleged. Whichever negligence, i.e. the crash or the medical care, was found to be the cause of death, it would be that type of lawsuit. Either or, the analysis is best left up to an experienced attorney. If something like this happens to you, call an experienced attorney today!
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.