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Do patients have rights in the emergency room?

Medical providers in the United States are bound to follow certain rules and procedures to ensure that their patients are treated with respect and provided with safe and comprehensive care. For example, Texas doctors must receive informed consent from their patients before undertaking certain medical actions. When doctors and nurses have time to review their patients' cases and prepare for their visits, meeting these standards may seem straightforward.

However, when medical personnel must make snap decisions on critical patient cases, it may become more difficult for them to provide their patients with balanced and comprehensive care. In emergency rooms, doctors and other staff must quickly assess, treat, and remedy their patients' ailments. They may not have time to read a patient's complete medical history and may have to act based on the most acute problem in front of them.

Despite the demands placed on emergency room doctors and staff, patients in these facilities still have rights. For example, they must be seen in a timely manner to determine if they have a critical need. If they do, they must be stabilized so that their condition does not further deteriorate as they await additional care. Cases that cannot be handled in emergency facilities must be appropriately transferred to new care locations.

Emergency rooms must document the patients that come in for treatment and record how their cases are handled. An emergency room is not a place where the rules are ignored, and patients who receive substandard care may suffer harm from their treatment. Any form of medical malpractice committed in a hospital or emergency room may be actionable under the personal injury laws of the state.

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