Millions of Americans are treated at local emergency rooms nationwide and the staff prides themselves on the high level of care and respect afforded each individual patient. However, emergency room errors can result in devastating consequences for a patient and his loved ones. In an environment where optimal urgent care is a necessity, the prevalence of reduced staffing levels has led to healthcare professionals being expected to provide care to a greater number of patients than ideal and increasing the likelihood of emergency room malpractice.
How Do Emergency Room Errors Occur?
Emergency room errors can occur during any part of a patient’s time in the hospital, and they include not being seen by a doctor as promptly as symptoms require, incorrect dosage, or wrong prescription medication.
There is a wide range of emergency room errors that may occur as a result of patient care received by a doctor, nurse, surgeon, or allied health provider. These include infections, negligence, birth injury, prescription and over-the-counter medication errors, and an incorrect diagnosis. Given that patients are choosing to utilize the ER as opposed to visiting their primary care doctor it is essential that admission personnel and triage staff thoroughly evaluate a patient’s condition when deciding how quickly they should be seen by a doctor.
By initially failing to recognize symptoms of a heart attack, significant injury to internal organs, or suicidal tendencies a patient may be discharged too early or misdiagnosed. In such instances the likelihood of a fatal outcome may be increased leaving the medical professionals responsible for their emergency room error.
Certain conditions may not result in serious consequences when not promptly diagnosed, however in cases where the risk is high, the doctor’s omission in ordering crucial diagnostic tests or performing the wrong procedure can have tragic consequences.