Emergency Room Errors
Emergency rooms are high-stress, action-packed places. Every day, doctors and nurses must deal with scores of new patients facing urgent issues and often have to make life-or-death decisions on the spot. Given the hectic nature of the emergency room, it’s easy to see why medical mistakes sometimes occur – but that doesn’t mean such mistakes are acceptable.
Emergency room medical personnel are expected to adhere to a certain standard of care. If the doctors, nurses or other members of the medical team fail to uphold this standard, patients can suffer injuries, additional medical complications, or even die as a result. When this occurs, doctors should be held accountable for these injuries.
What are common emergency room errors leading to injury?
- Failure to admit a patient in need of urgent care
- Failure to treat a critical care patient within a reasonable amount of time
- Failure to properly diagnose emergency conditions such as: heart attack, stroke, appendicitis, meningitis, spinal cord compression or bowel obstruction
- Misreading medical charts or laboratory test results
- Failure to seek the advice of specialists or surgical consults
- Prematurely discharging a patient from the emergency room
- Failure to order the correct laboratory or diagnostic tests, such as EKGs, X-rays, or MRIs.
- Failure to prescribe the proper medication or making another type of prescription error
Can the hospital be held responsible for an emergency room error?
The hospital may be equally responsible for certain emergency room errors. When hospitals have practices and operations that create dangerous conditions, they too should be held liable for any injuries that result. Sometimes unsafe conditions are created when the hospital:
- subcontracts out emergency room work. Having subcontracted emergency room doctors can mean that the physician is less familiar with the procedures and operations of the hospital and its staff. This can give rise to tragic communication errors or delays.
- allows patients to go unseen by doctors. In an effort to save time and costs, some hospitals permit certain patients to be treated solely by nurses and physician assistants. The emergency room doctor may review the work of the non-physician, but never sees the patient him or herself. This means that if the nurse or assistant makes a diagnosis error, it may go unnoticed and cause injuries.
What should I do if I have suffered an emergency room error?
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a Massachusetts emergency room, speak to a qualified medical malpractice lawyer. A Massachusetts lawyer experienced in emergency room errors can investigate your claim and determine whether your case is viable. If so, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your injuries, including: medical and hospitalization bills, lost wages and income, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and other costs.
Peter Ventura is a Massachusetts medical malpractice lawyer dedicated to helping people in the Massachusetts area recover full and fair compensation for emergency room errors that resulted in injuries or death. Contact us or Call for a free consultation today at 508-755-7535.