The emergency room (ER) is a critical-care setting where patients seek immediate medical attention for urgent conditions and life-threatening emergencies. While the majority of healthcare professionals in the ER provide exceptional care, there are a range of instances where emergency room negligence can occur.
One of the most common forms of medical malpractice in the ER is misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. The fast-paced nature of the emergency room can create a challenging environment for accurate and timely assessments. However, when a medical professional fails to diagnose a serious condition promptly or misdiagnoses the patient, it can lead to significant harm or even death. Conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, appendicitis, and sepsis require swift diagnosis and immediate treatment. Failure to recognize the symptoms or ordering the appropriate diagnostic tests can have devastating consequences.
In the ER, medication errors can occur due to a variety of factors such as high patient volume, time pressure, and miscommunication. Mistakes may involve incorrect dosages, incorrect administration routes, or prescribing medications to patients with known allergies. These errors can lead to severe allergic reactions, adverse drug interactions, or even medication overdose, causing harm to patients and potentially worsening their condition.
Effective communication is crucial in any healthcare setting, but it becomes even more critical in the fast-paced and high-stress environment of the emergency room. Critical test results should be reported to the patient, even if they are not directly relevant to the condition for which the patient is seeking care. Examples of “failure to report” include not advising patients of suspicious x-ray findings or abnormal blood results.
Some results aren’t reported back to the ER until after the patient is discharged. The ER doctors and staff are still responsible for advising the patients of these test results. Delays can lead to serious conditions going untreated.
While the emergency room is a fast-paced environment where healthcare professionals face numerous challenges, it is crucial to recognize and address the range of medical malpractice that can occur. Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, medication errors, and failure to report test results are among the key areas where medical malpractice can take place in the ER setting.
If you have suffered from an emergency room error, call today for a free consultation at 314-721-8833.
What to do if you suspect neglect: Immediately begin to take notes and record important events such as surgeries, tests, reports of labs. Make notes of the names of the doctors, nurses and other health care providers involved. Ask questions—why did this happen? What is the treatment? What's next? Try to have a family member present when you speak to doctors about your care. If you are hospitalized, you may want to consider transferring to another facility. And most important, contact a qualified medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.