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San Diego Ebola concern shut down by officials

A recent emergency room scare left some fearing a new Ebola outbreak was possible in San Diego. The hospital staff has now assured residents, however, that the patient in question does not have Ebola and no concerns should remain.

Alvarado Hospital officials reported that a man came into the emergency room over the weekend with concerns about having Ebola. The man had recently been to Africa. A hospital spokeswoman assured media sources that the man was not near any of the West Africa regions denoted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as at-risk areas. Additionally, the man's symptoms did not fit the criteria for an Ebola diagnosis. A hospital statement clarified that the patient was thoroughly screened according to San Diego County Health and Human Services guidelines. Even slightly suspect cases would be reported to the county, but this patient did not meet that level of concern.

While thankfully this instance was deemed to be a non-risk, sometimes the outcome is not as desired. Sometimes hospital negligence by an attending physician can result in an error in judgment; what happens when such an error impacts you?

Hospitals can be held vicariously liable for any negligence on the part of their employees. An emergency room error, such as a misdiagnosis, may lead to legal ramifications for the hospital if certain guidelines were not met. Healthcare facilities can be held liable for an employee's negligent actions when the employee was acting within the scope of employment at the time. The hospital will only be liable, however, if a negligent physician is an official employee and not an independent contractor. Allowing liability to flow beyond a physician alone offers more protections for victims by helping to assure greater funds are available to assist with any damages resulting from the negligent conduct.

A victim of medical negligence should not be left to deal with a worsened health condition alone. A medical malpractice lawsuit may help the victim recover the compensation the person deserves to begin on the proper course of healing.

Source: 10News, "Ebola scare at Alvaredo Hospital in emergency room," Nov. 15, 2014

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