Emergency Room Errors
Crowded and hectic emergency rooms require doctors, nurses and other medical personnel to make quick and accurate decisions. Unfortunately, they often make the wrong decisions and commit other errors. These mistakes, which are made at a critical stage of a patient’s care, can often lead to irreversible damage.
If you suspect that you or a loved one has been harmed by an emergency room error, Powers & Santola, LLP, can help you to seek justice. Our lawyers have vast experience in this area of the law. They can review the facts of your case and help to get the answers you deserve.
Contact us today for a free consultation. We serve clients in Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, and throughout New York State.
There are several types of emergency room errors that could rise to the level of medical malpractice. These errors include:
- Misdiagnosis – Doctors and nurses in emergency rooms can miss signs of serious illness if they fail to assess a patient’s symptoms and vital signs. Heart attacks and strokes, which require immediate treatment, are among the most commonly missed diagnoses in emergency rooms.
- Testing errors – Doctors may fail to order necessary tests or may incorrectly interpret test or lab results. This may lead to missed or incorrect diagnosis, or to incorrect treatment of an illness or disease.
- Medication errors – This includes failing to prescribe appropriate medication and administering the wrong type or dosage of medication. If an ER doctor or nurse does not get a full medical history from a patient, the patient could suffer an adverse reaction to certain medications.
- Falls – Patients who are left unattended in a busy emergency room may fall and injure themselves, particularly elderly patients or patients whose illness or injury leaves them disoriented. Falls can lead to fractures, including broken hips and traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Causes of Emergency Room Errors
Emergency room errors occur for several reasons.
In many cases, miscommunication is at the heart of an emergency room mistake. An ER nurse or doctor must listen to a patient’s complaint to understand what is wrong. They must also ask questions about symptoms and obtain a medical history. Failure to do so can cause a missed or incorrect diagnosis.
Communication errors also occur when a patient is transferred from one doctor, nurse or other care provider to another and important information is not conveyed. These “handoff errors” can lead to medical problems.
Sometimes, errors happen in the ER because doctors and nurses are inexperienced or because they work long or multiple shifts and are fatigued. In busy ERs, interruptions and pressure to move patients through admission or to discharge quickly can also lead to errors in judgment or incorrect action.
One study of health care system errors concluded that many patients are harmed because medical personnel fail to follow policies and procedures. The Institute of Medicine reports that 90 percent of hospital deaths are attributable to medical errors caused by failing to follow systems and procedures. In some cases, policies and procedures are poorly written and confusing.
Sometimes, a climate of short cuts and working around disliked rules exists. It may be that the medical center itself is negligent and should be held liable for an emergency room error.
Investigation of Emergency Room Errors
At Powers & Santola, our medical malpractice attorneys can help if you or a loved one has been harmed by a medical mistake that happened in an emergency room. We can obtain your or your family member’s medical records and ask qualified medical consultants to analyze them. If there is evidence of injury due to a preventable emergency room error, we can initiate a claim for compensation on your behalf.
A medical malpractice lawsuit based on emergency room error would ask for compensation for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering and, in cases of fatal error, wrongful death damages.
Investigating and pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit of any kind is a complex undertaking. It involves large volumes of technical data and often conflicting accounts of the case by the numerous people involved in it.
There are also strict deadlines on filing medical malpractice claims in New York State. It is best to begin the preliminary work of gathering and reviewing records for a potential claim as soon as possible.
Contact a New York Emergency Room Malpractice Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered medical problems after a visit to an emergency room, it is your right to investigate to determine whether a preventable error occurred. Contact Powers & Santola, LLP today and schedule a free initial consultation. We are here to listen and to help you.
Sources / More Information
- New England Journal of Medicine
- Institute of Medicine
- Department of Emergency Medicine, Baystate Medical Center
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