October 26, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Emergency Room Errors: Types and Causes
In one of our local Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, hospitals, a relatively young patient died from a heart attack in the emergency room while waiting to be seen by a doctor. How could this have happened?
When a patient comes into the ER, a triage nurse will assess the seriousness of the patient's condition. If the nurse determines that the patient is not in immediate need of assistance, it can be hours before the patient sees a doctor. Once the patient finally gets to speak with the physician, the physician may hurry through the exam because of the long line of other people waiting. In the rush, the physician may fail to recognize the signs of a serious condition or fail to order proper exams or request appropriate consults with specialists.
In this type of system, is it any wonder that errors occur?
Types of Emergency Room Errors
Two of the most common types of emergency room errors are misdiagnosis and medication errors.
occurs when the doctor incorrectly diagnoses a condition or fails to diagnose a condition.
occur when a patient is prescribed the wrong type of medication or an incorrect dosage of medication. A doctor, pharmacist, nurse or other health care provider may be responsible for this type of error.
Emergency room errors can also occur when the nursing staff fails to recognize the seriousness of a patient's injury or condition and causes a delay in treatment
. Triage nurses and even doctors may fail to recognize the signs of serious injury and/or health conditions in patients -- particularly when the patients are young and do not represent the typical patient for these conditions. Instead, the condition may be diagnosed as a common cold, flu or other ailment and the patient sent home.
Errors also may occur when the physician or other hospital staff misreads test results
or fails to order the proper tests in the first place. These errors can have serious consequences, especially if the patient is suffering from a life-threatening condition.
Specific examples of emergency room errors include:
-Failure to diagnose a heart attack
-Failure to diagnose a stroke
-Failure to diagnose an aortic aneurism or pulmonary embolism
-Failure to diagnosis meningitis
-Failure to diagnose a ruptured spleen
Why Do Emergency Room Errors Occur?
Emergency room errors occur for a number of reasons:
-Overcrowded emergency rooms
-Poorly trained staff and physicians
-Inadequately equipped emergency rooms
-Shortage of hospital beds
-Employees suffering from fatigue and stress
-Lack of financial resources
What Can You Do?
A person injured by an emergency room error may be able to file a medical malpractice claim
. When a patient sees a doctor for treatment, the doctor owes a duty of care to the patient. When the doctor breaches that duty and the patient is injured as a result, the patient is likely to have the right to take legal action against the doctor. In some cases, an injured patient can file a medical malpractice claim against not only the physician, but also the hospital and any support staff who may share responsibility for the error.
Sadly, medical errors also can cause the death of a patient. When this happens, the family usually has the right to bring a wrongful death action
against the responsible parties. Parties eligible to bring a wrongful death action include those who relied upon the support of the decedent, such as the spouse, children and parents.
Anyone injured by an emergency room error should seek legal advice. An attorney experienced in medical malpractice cases can help you determine whether you have a case and the best way to proceed.
Article provided by Dallas W. Hartman P.C.
Visit us at www.dallashartman.com