Common EMT or Paramedic Malpractice Issues

By Greg Kohn

What Are the Most Common EMT or Paramedic Malpractice Issues?

Medical malpractice is almost always associated with physicians, surgeons, and hospitals. However, it can extend to paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs). Some of the most crucial medical diagnoses and treatments happen at the ambulatory stage, even before the patient gets to the hospital. When paramedics and EMTs fail to provide reasonable care to patients in need at this time, it can lead to severe sometimes life-threatening consequences.

If you or someone you know suffered injury because of EMT or paramedic malpractice, you can recover compensation in the form of damages for the injuries you suffered. Contact a New Jersey medical malpractice attorney to know your legal options.     

Common EMT or Paramedic Malpractice Issues

Paramedics and EMTs are often the first responders in medical emergencies. They are trained to assess life-threatening conditions, provide crucial medical emergency treatments and life-support services at the scene of the accident, prepare patients for transportation, transport patients to the hospital and take care of patients until they arrive at the hospital. Paramedics are also trained to administer medication and give shots.

Paramedics and EMTs owe their patients a very high duty of care. Often, they conduct their duties diligently. However, there are times when they fail to do so, worsening patients’ conditions or even worse, occasioning death. This is malpractice. Patients who have suffered because of it can file personal injury suits for negligence against the errant paramedic or EMT.

Common occasions of paramedic and EMT malpractice are:

  • Delayed response by first responders or ambulances
  • Failure to bring adequate medical equipment or functioning life-saving medical devices
  • Improper use of ambulance equipment  
  • Failure to provide trained paramedics or EMT personnel
  • Failure to sufficiently staff ambulances
  • Failure to follow standard EMT evaluation protocols such as checking patients’ breathing and heartbeat or ensuring patients have adequate airway
  • Misdiagnoses made by the EMT or paramedic
  • Failure to administer proper medications or administering wrong dosages/over-medicating
  • Ambulatory equipment failures
  • Negligent or reckless ambulance driving, leading to further injury
  • Willful failure to attend to a patient at the accident scene or leaving a patient at the accident scene

Proving Paramedic and EMT Malpractice in Court

If a paramedic or EMT has acted negligently, occasioning more harm to the patient, the patient can pursue a personal injury case against the paramedic or EMT. To successfully prove negligence in court, the patient has to show four things:

  • Duty of care – prove that the paramedic or EMT owed a duty of care to the patient to act prudently, as a reasonable EMS provider in a similar situation would.
  • Breach of duty of care – The paramedic or EMT breached that duty of care by failing to act as a reasonable professional would.
  • Injury suffered – The patient suffered injury because of the breach of duty of care. For example, the failure to accurately diagnose worsened the patient’s medical condition.
  • The breach was cause of injury – The paramedic’s or EMT’s breach of duty of care is what caused the patients’ injury, not something else.

Proving paramedic or EMT malpractice can get complicated and requires an experienced legal mind. If you or someone you love was injured by a negligent paramedic or EMT, schedule a consult with the New Jersey personal injury lawyers at Nagel Rice, LLP today to find out your legal options.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.