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Is Medical Negligence More Common in the Emergency Room?

Written by Berkowitz

emergency room entranceEmergency rooms are fast-paced. Physicians often have multiple patients whom they are treating at the same time – ranging from minor to life-threatening. Emergency room physicians have to think quickly, diagnose accurately and treat rapidly. While the environment in an emergency room can be chaotic, it does not necessarily mean that medical negligence is more common in this setting versus the quiet and calm of a private physician’s office. In fact, physician’s offices and private clinics have just as high of medical errors as emergency rooms – and some medical specialties will see more error rates and lawsuits well outside of the ER.

Why are Emergency Room Errors Common?

ER errors are common simply due to the fact that emergency rooms are chaotic in nature. Physicians, nurses, surgeons and even general employees of the hospitals can be neglectful in their responsibilities, and patients can suffer serious injuries. Emergency rooms are also home to some of the most overworked, underpaid, and under-rested physicians and staff members in the country. A large majority of errors that occur in the ER include misdiagnosis – because ERs are in a hurry to diagnose, treat, and free up the bed.

The most common type of medical error that occurs in the emergency room is misdiagnosis. These errors aside, there are other common ER-related errors, such as:

  • EMT and paramedic neglect
  • Surgical errors
  • Anesthesia malpractice
  • Delayed diagnosis
  • Delayed treatment
  • Contaminated blood or equipment
  • Failure to diagnose
  • Drug interactions or side effects

Most patients visiting an emergency room enter that hospital with confidence. They assume that the providers there are trained in urgent care; therefore, the chaotic environment should not be an issue for them. Unfortunately, emergency room errors often occur due to minor oversight – which leads to serious injuries. Emergency rooms are overcrowded and, often, patients are not admitted within the first hour of their arrival. When they are admitted, it can be hours before they are properly examined and they can quickly deteriorate in condition while waiting.

Also, test results are not always examined in a timely manner. A patient could have a fatal heart attack while the physician waits to order the necessary laboratory tests. In another instance, a patient with a serious illness could quickly decompensate and even stop breathing – because he or she was forced to wait several hours for test results to be reviewed.

Common Injuries Associated with Emergency Room Errors

Injuries with emergency room errors can be catastrophic. Injuries can range from a heart attack due to improper monitoring or diagnosis to other injuries such as:

  • Appendicitis
  • Infection
  • Stroke
  • Brain aneurysm
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Internal bleeding
  • Brain bleeding
  • Concussion
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Broken bones

Speak with a Medical Malpractice Attorney Regarding Your ER Error Case

Proving malpractice in emergency room error cases is difficult, but not impossible. If you have been seriously injured because of an emergency room physician or staff members error, you need to contact a medical malpractice attorney right away. To get started, contact The Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation. Call us or contact us online.