Emergency rooms are typically the busiest areas of hospitals. They’re stressful environments with chaotic activity. Many of them are understaffed and underequipped, and those factors create an increased potential risk of harm to patients of medical malpractice, even from well-intentioned emergency room professionals. One study from Johns Hopkins Medicine concluded that medical malpractice, including emergency room negligence is the third leading cause of death in the United States behind heart disease and cancer. When patients are injured or die as a result of emergency room malpractice, those patients or their families might be able to pursue compensation for their injuries and damages from hospitals, emergency room doctors or staff.
Common Emergency Room Errors
It’s not uncommon for an emergency room doctor to be caring for three or more patients at a time while being continually interrupted. Even an interruption of a few short seconds can interfere with a health care professional’s train of thought. Those factors make emergency rooms ripe for mistakes or overlooking critical information. Here are a few examples of some common emergency room errors:
- Triage Errors: Failure to distinguish between patients who are In need of immediate emergency care and treatment and patients being compelled to wait for treatment of patients with less urgent
- Misdiagnosis: Signs of serious conditions or illnesses are frequently overlooked in emergency rooms because of the simple failure to evaluate a patient’s symptoms and corresponding vital signs. According to Candello Safety in Numbers, about 47% of all emergency room medical malpractice cases involve diagnostic errors.
- Failure to Communicate Effectively: Although patients might communicate their medical histories and subjective symptoms, a failure to properly follow up with questions on them can cause severe harm.
- Handing Patients Off: Handoff malpractice occurs when the care of an emergency room patient is transferred from one emergency room doctor to another without informing the next doctor of important patient information.
- Test Mistakes: By failing to order certain diagnostic tests or incorrectly interpreting test results, a proper diagnosis might be missed or a condition might be incorrectly treated.
- Medication Errors: A wide variety of problems can arise with medication errors. They might include but not be limited to administering the wrong medication, an improper dosage of the correct medication or even a failure to prescribe any medication at all.
- Hospital Policy and Procedure Mistakes: A large percentage of emergency room malpractice deaths are caused by a failure to follow a hospital’s policies and procedures. In some cases, they might not be clearly written or ambiguous. That’s when emergency room malpractice might be attributable to hospital.
If you believe that you have been injured or lost a loved one as a result of emergency room malpractice by a doctor, nurse, staff member or other emergency room health care professional in or around Thousand Oaks, it’s important for you to consult with our California emergency room malpractice lawyer here at Quirk Accident & Injury Attorneys, APC as soon as you possibly can. The time period for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against any health care provider is generally only one year from the date of discovery of possible malpractice. It’s highly likely that any failure to file that lawsuit within the time prescribed by law will cause a case to be dismissed forever. Contact our offices to arrange for a free consultation and case review. You’ll be listened to carefully and your questions will be answered. After that, wee can talk about any legal options that might be available for you or your family.