An emergency room is a busy, fast-moving place. In fact, 130 million people visited the emergency room in the United States in a recent year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Emergency room doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals are highly trained and skilled in handling a high caseload and providing people with the emergency treatment they need. However, in this fast-paced environment, mistakes can and do happen.
Many factors contribute to errors in an emergency room setting. These include overcrowding, difficulty obtaining medical history, lack of equipment, or medical personnel feeling stressed or tired. Although some of these factors may seem unavoidable, there is no excuse for providing substandard care to patients.
If you believe you have been the victim of a medical error while receiving emergency treatment, contact a medical malpractice attorney at the Law Office Kelley J. Johnson now. We will help you understand your options for pursuing compensation. We will provide a free evaluation of your claim and give you answers to your legal questions, as well as explain what to expect throughout the legal process.
Types of Emergency Room Mistakes
There are many types of medical errors that can cause harm to patients in the ER. Many of these errors can delay recovery significantly and even cause additional harm to the patient. Common types of ER errors include:
A medical misdiagnosis can take many forms. It can be an incorrect diagnosis, a delayed diagnosis, or some other failure to recognize symptoms that would point to an underlying cause. The most common medical misdiagnoses are for heart attacks, strokes, meningitis, cancer, and infections.
Delay in Treatment
A delay in treatment occurs when a health professional does not give the patient the proper or necessary treatment the patient needs within a reasonable time frame. This can result in worsening the condition or the symptoms associated with the condition; an increase in the amount or intensity of the patient’s pain; or the eventual treatment to not be as effective.
Patients can experience significant harm, even death, when a medical professional makes a negligent medication mistake. These errors include administering the wrong medication; providing an incorrect dosage (too low or too high a dose); mixing two or more medications; missing a dosage; or suddenly stopping or changing a medication.
A mistake in a clinical laboratory can lead to significant harm to a patient. For example, if a lab technician mixes up one sample with another, a patient could undergo unnecessary surgery. If a sample or report gets sent to the wrong location or physician, the time delay could cause a patient’s condition to worsen. And if a lab tech handles the samples incorrectly, that could cause contamination.
Mistakes Interpreting Test Results
Part of an ER professional’s job is to interpret radiographs (such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs), test results, and lab samples to determine a patient’s condition. But when the ER physician misreads or misinterprets something that’s apparent on the X-ray, report, or sample diagnosis, the patient may not be diagnosed correctly.
Failure to Reduce the Risk of Infection
Patients could be vulnerable to infection because of ER negligence and medical malpractice. The causes of hospital-acquired infections include unsterile surgical tools, lack of handwashing and other cleanliness measures, expired medical supplies or products, problems with the facility’s HVAC filtration system, and contaminated surfaces due to improper janitorial cleaning.
What You Can Do if You Were a Victim of ER Malpractice
When you go to the emergency room, you expect that the medical professionals will help you get better, not worse. Doctors and other healthcare professionals have a duty to patients to provide an acceptable standard of care when evaluating and treating injuries and illnesses. When a healthcare provider fails to meet this standard of care, and you suffer harm as a result, you may be able to seek compensation through a medical malpractice claim.
To prove that the doctor or other medical professional was negligent, your attorney will need to gather and examine a variety of evidence, including hospital records and statements from the individuals who were involved in your treatment. Your attorney will also consult with other medical experts about your treatment.
Cases involving medical malpractice in the ER can be complex, so it is crucial to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
Contact an Indiana Emergency Room Malpractice Attorney Today
If you were injured or otherwise harmed due to an error in the emergency room, the team at the Law Office Kelley J. Johnson can review your case, and an attorney can explain your legal rights. You may be owed compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, loss of future earning potential, pain and suffering, and other losses.
Kelley J. Johnson’s extensive litigation experience is focused on medical malpractice claims. She knows how complicated medical malpractice claims can be, and she has the expertise and resources to fight for the best interests of injured patients.
Contact our Indiana medical malpractice law firm today to schedule a free consultation and get answers to your legal questions.
This post was originally published in April 2020 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in December 28, 2022.