Taking a trip to the emergency room isn’t something that most people do without something being seriously wrong. When you do show up, the medical team needs to do what they can to figure out what’s going on, especially if there is a chance that your life is in danger.
Malpractice in the emergency room isn’t that uncommon. In fact, the emergency room is the most common place from which malpractice lawsuits stem. Around 63% of malpractice incidents happen in the emergency room during the period starting at 6 p.m. and ending at 1 a.m. on holidays and weekends. This coincides with the busiest hours in the department.
Emergency room physicians can work long shifts. The rate of errors increases as the shift progresses, especially when the department is busy. Without proper rest, a doctor’s judgement decreases, which can lead to serious errors with patient care.
Patients who arrive at the emergency room and require care during a physician shift change might also suffer from malpractice. Even when doctors communicate during shift changes, there is a chance that things will be left out. This puts them at risk of not having proper testing or of obvious symptoms being looked over. The new doctor might not know what the first doctor was testing for or what their suspicions were.
The doctors in the emergency room aren’t specialists, and they sometimes have to consult with doctors who specialize in certain areas. While this is understandable, the emergency room physician should be sure that they are using common sense. Trying to give a care plan over the phone is a dangerous proposition, so the doctor in the ER should be sure to relay as much information as possible to the specialist. They should then use the advice obtained in that consult to come up with a feasible plan for the patient. Typically, it is better to err on the side of caution in the emergency room.
Common areas of malpractice
There are many different issues that might happen in the emergency room. Failure to diagnose a condition is the most common. This can include conditions like appendicitis, myocardial infarction, ectopic pregnancy, respiratory obstruction, stroke, fractures and meningitis. These can all have dire consequences if left untreated.
Patients who experience emergency room malpractice might have considerable health issues and expenses. They can seek compensation for the damages, but they must take the statute of limitation into account when developing their plan.