Medical Legal Case Reports

Three Cases of Emergency Department Medical Malpractice Involving “Consultations”: How Is Liability Legally Determined?

Alaa Aldalati, MBBS

This article presents three successfully litigated medical malpractice cases involving emergency physicians and consultants. We discuss the respective case medical diagnoses, as well as established legal principles that determine in a court proceeding which provider will be liable. Specifically, we explain the legal principles of “patient physician relationship” and “affirmative act.”

Read More

Duty to Warn in the Emergency Department: Three Medical Legal Cases That Illustrate Providers’ Broad Risk and Liability

Rosemary Pfaff, BS

This article presents three medical-legal cases that define a physician’s duty to warn and include caveats on medical practice within the scope of the law. Some physicians may not recognize that these legal and liability requirements extend not only to physical danger, but also to infectious diseases, medical illness, and drug effects.

Read More

Beware of Reversal of an Anticoagulated Patient with Factor IX in the Emergency Department: Case Report of a Medical-Legal Misadventure

Gannon, MD, et al.

In this article we present a case of a patient who received reversal of anticoagulation therapy with factor IX in violation of hospital guidelines. As a direct result, myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke occurred, leaving the patient neurologically debilitated. Factor IX is indicated in the setting of warfarin-induced, life-threatening bleeding.

Read More

Defensive Medicine: A Case and Review of Its Status and Possible Solutions

Katz, MD, et al.

Malpractice liability systems exist, in part, to provide compensation for medical malpractice, corrective justice for those injured by it, and to incentivize quality care by punishing substandard care. Defensive medicine is loosely defined as practice based primarily on the fear of litigation rather than on expected patient outcomes.

Read More

Patient with a Subarachnoid Headache

Montemayor, MEd, et al.

We report a risk management case of a patient with a missed SAH resulting in a fatal outcome. When there are multiple diagnostic strategies, the patient may be involved with shared decision-making. Some of the medical and legal implications of the diagnosis of SAH will be discussed.

Read More

Emergency Physicians: Beware of the Consent Standard of Care

Moore, MD, JD, et al.

Many emergency physicians view informed consent as a necessary component of treatments or procedures to be performed on their patients. When such procedures are necessary, often there is a discussion of risks, benefits and alternatives with forms signed to validate the discussion

Read More

Contact Information

WestJEM/ Department of Emergency Medicine
UC Irvine Health

333 The City Blvd. West, Rt 128-01
Suite 640
Orange, CA 92868, USA
Phone: 1-714-456-6389


ISSN: 1936-900X
e-ISSN: 1936-9018

ISSN: 2474-252X

Our Philosophy

Emergency Medicine is a specialty which closely reflects societal challenges and consequences of public policy decisions. The emergency department specifically deals with social injustice, health and economic disparities, violence, substance abuse, and disaster preparedness and response. This journal focuses on how emergency care affects the health of the community and population, and conversely, how these societal challenges affect the composition of the patient population who seek care in the emergency department. The development of better systems to provide emergency care, including technology solutions, is critical to enhancing population health.