Emergency rooms are chaotic places, so it is not surprising that they are all too frequently the site of tragic mistakes resulting in medical malpractice and wrongful death. Emergency room physicians have to make life and death judgments not only quickly, but accurately. Part of being an emergency room doctor or nurse is being able to provide quality medical care under pressure. A delay in treatment, a misdiagnosis, or a failure to diagnose a serious condition can have serious consequences.
Types of emergency room errors
Misdiagnosis is the most prevalent emergency room error. Heart attacks are often misdiagnosed as indigestion, and life-threatening infections are often dismissed as a mere flu. Wrong diagnoses can allow a condition to worsen, which in turn can cause death. Extremely sick people have a difficult time calling attention to themselves; their conditions sometimes get worse as they are left waiting.
These are some other common categories of medical error:
- Anesthesia errors
- Medication errors
- Surgical errors
- EMT and paramedic errors
- Laboratory errors
- Contaminated blood transfusions
Why these errors happen: common failures of ER staff
When ER staff fails to properly diagnose a life-threatening condition, such as heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, pancreatitis or pulmonary embolism, appendicitis, infection, or spinal cord injury…and then sends patient home prematurely, it is usually because of failures in ER procedure, including
- Failure to perform correct diagnostic tests
- Failure to properly read x-rays and other tests
- Failure to properly inform patient of test results
- Failure to instruct the patient what to do next in terms of medication, wound treatment, or following up with another physician
- Failure to bring in an appropriate specialist to consult
- Failure to pay attention to a stated food or drug allergy
- Failure of nurses and pharmacists to correctly process medication orders
All emergency room staff need to be held accountable if they have failed to provide an appropriate standard of care. If you or a family member has been harmed by something a medical professional either did that should not have been done, or failed to do that should have been done, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses resulting from the malpractice. This will require the services of an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Medical malpractice cases can be difficult to prove, because not only do you need to prove that the healthcare professional made an error, you have to show that the error was the cause of the poor outcome.
The Phoenix, Arizona, medical malpractice attorneys at Wattel and York understand the complexities of emergency room malpractice cases and have access to medical experts who can testify to the causative link between the medical error and the harm that it produced.
You have the right to be compensated for your losses, and we are here to give you the best shot at a monetary recovery. Call us today for a free, no-obligation consultation and case evaluation.