Emergency Room Errors Attorneys Serving
Stamford, Danbury, Bridgeport and all of Connecticut
Emergency rooms can be very stressful places for both patients and healthcare providers. There may be a high volume of patients, many of whom may be critically ill or seriously injured. But no matter how busy or how urgent the patients’ needs, healthcare professionals must provide appropriate care to all patients. Sometimes errors happen in emergency rooms, which can lead to patients being injured or even killed as a result.
If you or someone you love suffered injuries due to mistakes by emergency room physicians or other hospital staff, the Connecticut medical malpractice lawyers at Berkowitz and Hanna LLC can help. Our lawyers represent individuals and family members who have suffered serious injuries due to hospital mistakes, including those made in the emergency room.
Facts on Emergency Room Errors
Emergency rooms across the U.S. saw 136.6 million visits in 2011 – 40.2 million of them as a result of injuries – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is in this busy atmosphere that mistakes happen. According to a study of files of insurance companies in emergency room malpractice cases closed from 1985 to 2007:
- There were 11,529 claims arising from an event in an emergency department, with over $664 million in total liability over the 23-year study period.
- Emergency room physicians were the primary defendants in 19% of claims.
- The biggest causes of errors identified by insurers were errors in diagnosis (37%), followed by improper performance of a procedure (17%).
- Heart attacks (5%), bone fractures (6%) and appendicitis (2%) were the conditions with the highest number of claims.
In another study of 122 emergency department malpractice claims from four insurance companies, researchers found that 79 claims (65%) involved missed diagnoses that harmed patients. 48% of these missed diagnoses were associated with serious harm and 39% resulted in death. The leading causes of errors in diagnostic process were failure to order an appropriate diagnostic test (58%), failure to perform an adequate medical history or physical examination (42%), incorrect interpretation of a diagnostic test (37%), and failure to obtain an appropriate consultation (33%). The factors most responsible for contributing to these missed diagnoses were those related to the thought processes of the healthcare providers (96%), patient-related factors (34%), failure to adequately supervise others (30%), inadequate transfer of patients from one person to another (24%), and excessive workload (23%). Researchers concluded that missed diagnoses in emergency departments have complex causes involving multiple breakdowns in the diagnostic process, along with several other contributing factors.
Other than diagnostic errors, there are many other types of error that can be made by healthcare professionals in an emergency room setting. For example, medication errors, such as prescribing the wrong type or dosage to a patient, or even something as simple as a failure of healthcare workers to communicate during a shift change, can have detrimental consequences.
Consequences of Emergency Room Errors
When mistakes are made and serious conditions are not properly diagnosed and treated, serious injuries can result. Failed diagnosis and lack of treatment for heart attacks, strokes, and fatal conditions such as cancer are common emergency room errors. When these conditions are caught early, patients have a better chance of recovery and survival.
Lives are put at risk when mistakes such as these take place. In order to lessen the chances of a problem occurring in an emergency room, consider the following:
- If you need healthcare for a non-urgent, non-emergency situation, obtain it with a family doctor or medical clinic, not the emergency room.
- If you or a loved one is being treated in an emergency room, be prepared to describe the situation and symptoms multiple times because you may see a number of doctors and nurses. Don’t assume that once you share your symptoms with one person that it will be passed to everyone else.
- Describe anything that you think could help with a proper diagnosis.
- Ask the healthcare provider to repeat back to you his or her understanding of the situation and correct any mistakes to make sure the person has a clear picture of what is going on.
- Ask questions about how the diagnosis was made, why other conditions were ruled out, and possible treatments.
Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC to Discuss Your Emergency Room Error Case
If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries due to mistakes in the emergency room, Berkowitz and Hanna LLC’s medical malpractice attorneys can provide compassionate, yet aggressive, legal help so you can protect your legal rights and seek fair compensations for the injuries suffered due to emergency room errors. To find out if you have a claim, contact us today by calling (866) 479-7909 or by sending us a case evaluation form through our contact us page.