Emergency Room Mistakes – Understanding Malpractice in Emergency Care

Understanding Your Rights When you Receive Less than Adequate Emergency Room Care

If you have a medical emergency on a holiday or weekend, you may find yourself in a hospital emergency room getting quick treatment for your illness or injury. Although most emergency room visits have a successful outcome, errors sometimes occur that are grounds for emergency treatment malpractice cases to compensate you for your injuries.

A National Institutes of Health study noted that errors occur in emergency room treatment throughout the process. Fortunately, a great percentage, about 98 percent or these errors, do not result in any adverse outcome for the patient. However, the tiny percentage that remains can result in increased injury and even death for patients. In these cases, you may consider filing a Malpractice suit for the emergency care. This article hopes to help you understand a bit more about the reasons or process.

Why Are ER Errors So Common?
Emergency rooms often function in a state that is often described as barely-controlled chaos. Sudden influxes of large numbers of patients can strain staff. The lack of medical records on these patients can lead to gaps in critical information about their medical history, allergies or other significant information. Patients and their families may be in severe distress at the time of emergency care, making communication difficult and adding to the stress on medical staff. A combination of these factors appears to play a role in the high number of errors seen in average emergency rooms around the country.

What Are the Most Common Errors?
Several categories of medical errors are seen repeatedly in emergency room settings.

  • Diagnostic errors – the patient is misdiagnosed and often sent home, without proper treatment.
  • Appropriate tests are not ordered. In some cases, test results are improperly interpreted.
  • Medication errors – the patient receives the wrong medication or the wrong dosage of medication.
  • Intravenous fluids are inaccurate or inappropriate for the patient.

Protecting Yourself From Emergency Room Mistakes
To avoid possible emergency treatment malpractice, always assign a family member or close friend to be your advocate if you are incapacitated or confused by events taking place in your care. If you are in pain or emotional distress, your advocate can ensure that medical personnel are aware of your condition so that your treatment can be prompt and appropriate for your needs. Your advocate can help you to communicate properly with the medical staff, inform them of special considerations and be alert to any unusual reactions.

Understanding Malpractice in Emergency Care
If you have been injured by a mistake in treatment during emergency care, you may be unsure how to proceed to have your concerns addressed. A personal injury attorney can advise you on your rights under the law to compensate you for additional costs that result from the error, loss of wages and other expenses that may apply. Emergency treatment malpractice can happen to anyone. An attorney can assure that your rights are protected while you concern yourself with regaining your health.