The emergency room is a hectic, and oftentimes frantic, place. People are constantly coming in with different illnesses and wounds, and it’s the staff’s job to determine who is in most critical condition, and then stabilize them as quickly as possible. With all of these intense cases and nonstop flood of patients, it can be difficult to make sure everyone has the care they need. To top it off, most emergency rooms are understaffed and overcrowded, which only makes problems worse. In such a fast-paced environment, it’s easy to make mistakes, but that’s no cause for negligence.
Despite the pressure and stress, both doctors and nurses are required to abide by the duty of ordinary standard of care. Even emergency room doctors and nurses must provide all patients with the same level of diagnosis and treatment that any other doctor or nurse would provide. This means that if you or a loved one suffers due to a mistake made in the emergency room, you are entitled to compensation for your additional bills, as well as pain and suffering.
Emergency room mistakes do happen, but you don’t have to let the mistake or negligence of one doctor or nurse negatively affect the rest of your life. While compensation won’t solve the problem, or change what happened, filing a medical malpractice suit can help you pay for medical bills and will work to change hospital policy so that no one else has to suffer the same mistake.
Common Emergency Room Mistakes
It can be hard to imagine that the emergency room, where you go to seek urgent medical attention, could fail its patients, but unfortunately it does happen. Besides the understaffing, the overcrowding, and the general hectic pace of the emergency room, there is the issue of medical records.
In many cases, emergency rooms do not have immediate access to your medical records, which can lead to errors if they don’t understand your medical history, or know about any allergies or existing conditions you may have. If you are unable to speak with someone who has access to your medical records, or who is familiar with your medical history, it’s possible that this lack of information could impact your treatment.
Common emergency room mistakes and errors include:
- Failure to recognize symptoms of heart attack or stroke.
- Failure to recognize obvious signs of physical distress like organ failure.
- Prescription error.
- Delayed diagnosis.
- Inadequate or improper diagnostic tests.
- Lab errors, paperwork errors, and other procedural errors.
- Misread test results or x-rays.
- Failure to recognize a high-priority health concern in triage.
- Failure to maintain sanitary conditions.
Why Do Emergency Room Mistakes Happen?
Most of us seek immediate medical attention from emergency room staff because we trust their education and their abilities. It can be a bit alarming to learn that even these medical professionals make mistakes, and more importantly, mistakes that have an immediate affect on your health. So how exactly do these mistakes happen?
Typically it’s due to overworked staff. In the emergency room, there’s no limit to the amount of patients they’ll admit. This means that sometimes the ER can become flooded with patients that all need immediate attention. When this happens, medical staff may rush through their procedures and checks, and miss small details that could indicate bigger problems.
While there is no excuse for a medical mistake that puts a person’s life and long-term health in jeopardy, it is true that understaffing is a major issue, and one of the causes that leads to emergency room errors.
How Can I Receive Compensation?
If you were further injured, or suffered due to an emergency room mistake, you deserve compensation for wages lost, additional medical bills, and loss of normal quality of life. If you decide to pursue legal action, your attorney will have to prove the following for a solid medical malpractice claim:
- That the doctor or nurse had a physician patient relationship with you,
- that that doctor or nurse had a responsibility to provide a professional standard of care,
- that that doctor or nurse breached that standard of care through either careless action or careless inaction,
- you were injured as a direct or proximate result of this breach,
- and you suffered damages as a result of this injury.
Essentially, you and your attorney will have to prove that the physician or nurse who was attending to you at the emergency room failed to provide a standard of care that other emergency room medical professionals would provide in that situation. If your healthcare provider’s actions deviated from procedure, or what another medical professional might do, this would constitute negligence.
Upon proving negligence in a medical malpractice claim, you would be entitled to compensation for your additional medical bills, as well as calculated pain and suffering.
If you suffered an injury or an additional health complication due to a mistake made in the emergency room, you have a right to file a medical malpractice claim. For an experienced medical malpractice attorney you can trust, call the Epstein Law Firm. Our attorneys have handled all kinds of medical malpractice cases successfully, and can do so for you too. If you’d like to fight to change faulty policy, and receive the compensation you deserve, contact the Epstein Law Firm today! Call us at 773-522-7000 or request an appointment for your free initial consultation online.
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