If you’ve found yourself in an Emergency Room, you know that distressful feeling and dependency on others to help you. When you are very sick or injured and put your confidence in doctors, nurses, and staff to help you in your time of need, you expect and deserve quality care. Sometimes though, it’s not always what you get. If you’ve ever been mistreated in an emergency room, you know how disappointed and infuriated it can make you feel.
Unfortunately, you are not alone. In fact, an estimated 250,000 deaths per year are caused by medical errors. That’s a staggering number indeed! So what kinds of errors are happening in our emergency rooms? What is being done about them, and what can you do if you find yourself a patient that is mistreated in an emergency room?
Top Medical Errors in the ER
- Misdiagnosis – We know how quickly everything can move in an ER setting. There are so many patients and so much going on, not to mention the patients arriving by ambulance, sometimes needing immediate care and attention. So it’s no wonder the doctors, nurses, and other staff can sometimes miss things because they lack the time to really stop and think about what could be ailing their patients. Maybe some tests are overlooked that should have been done, or a simple symptom was missed, leading to a misdiagnosis which, depending on the patient, could be a fatal mistake. Just think if a patient’s heart attack, stroke, or other life-threatening condition was mistakenly diagnosed as a panic attack, migraine, or just a regular stomachache.
- Medication Mistakes – You’ve probably heard about medications getting mixed up, given at the wrong dose, or possibly not even given at all. Medication mistakes can range from small, simple mistakes to life-threatening ones. While so many measures have been put in place in hospitals and pharmacies to help keep us safe when taking medications, mistakes still happen and can be extremely harmful.
- Misreading Tests – Not reading tests correctly can be a big deal and significantly affect the way a patient is continued to be tested, medicated, and cared for in general. The misdiagnosis and unnecessary treatment that can follow a simple mistake when looking over tests or imaging results can be devastating.
- Delay in Treatment and Care – As we’ve discussed previously, depending on the day and time you visit the ER, it can be complete mayhem with all kinds of patients in urgent situations. Unfortunately, while emergency room staff do their best to triage patients and treat them in order of severity, things are often overlooked. Every patient is different and doesn’t present the same as another with the same condition. It can be a real struggle to judge what patient needs care sooner than another. Delaying treatment for a patient requiring immediate care can worsen an injury or sickness and even lead to death.
- Errors During Procedures – These types of errors can happen with any kind of healthcare provider, starting with a nurse’s aid and ranging all the way to the top specialists. Mistakes during a procedure can lead to a minor annoyance like an abnormally larger scar than expected to a permanent disability or even death.
- Discharging Patients Too Early – Releasing a patient before they should be can be extremely dangerous, but it happens on a daily basis. The goal of Emergency Room staff is to treat a patient quickly, take care of things that need to be cared for on an emergency basis, and then refer the patient to a specialist or their regular internist for further care.
When a patient that is dependent on the care of hospital staff to stay alive is allowed to go home, the aftermath can be harmful and deadly. Unfortunately, this kind of mistake happens far too often, largely due to the pressure placed on ER staff to meet discharge numbers and times set out by Medicare and the hospital they operate in. After all, many hospitals are for-profit businesses, trying to get as many patients in and out as fast as possible to make the maximum money.
What Is Being Done to Reduce Errors in the ER?
Combatting the possibility of errors in the emergency room is ongoing and has been ongoing for years. All kinds of measures are being taken to reduce errors, like highlighting high or low numbers on test results so that the provider can easily see abnormalities. They also add barcodes to wristbands and medications to reduce medication errors. In addition, the staff double-checks each other in certain situations, adding training, increased communication, higher standards of care, and the list goes on and on.
The truth is when we are being treated by doctors and nurses that are working long hours, are under stress, and have more patients to care for, human error can and will continue to occur.
Helping Those Mistreated in an Emergency Room
If you believe that you have been mistreated in an emergency room, during surgery, or under any type of medical care, Gainsburgh, Benjamin, David, Meunier & Warshauer, L.L.C. are the medical malpractice attorneys that are ready to fight for you.
Our legal time can help inform you about your options and provide trustworthy and experienced legal counsel to help ensure you receive the compensation you need. The attorneys at Gainsburgh, Benjamin, David, Meunier & Warshauer, L.L.C. will work on your behalf to prove your medical malpractice case. They will gather information, evidence, witness statements, and more, all while allowing you to move on with your life and recover physically, mentally, and emotionally from the harm that was caused to you.
Be sure to hold those responsible for your suffering accountable for their neglect or wrongdoing. If not for yourself, for others that are or will be treated by the same people and facility that mistreated you. Contact the team at Gainsburgh, Benjamin, David, Meunier & Warshauer, L.L.C. today at (504) 522-2304.