Every year, medical errors, which are definitely preventable, claim as many as 98,000 lives in the U.S., information released by the Institute of Medicine, an American non-profit, non-governmental research organization. Medical errors are results of the negligent or careless acts of nurses, doctors or other health-care professionals; these can be committed through many different ways, the most common of which are wrong diagnosis, delayed diagnosis, surgical mistake and errors in the emergency room.
Medical mistakes are usually discovered only after a patient complains of a new health condition or of sudden pains after having been prescribed a medication, treated in the emergency department or undergone a surgical procedure. The consequences of medical mistakes can be serious, even fatal at times, with mistakes in emergency rooms being the ones which often bring about the most devastating results.
Take, for example, the case wherein a young girl was diagnosed as simply suffering from a bellyache. Her appendix ruptured a few minutes later, causing her extreme pain. Another is the case of a teenager who complained of fever and chills. Being too young to possibly suffer from any serious health problems, he was sent home to rest after being handed Tylenol; a few hours later, this teenager died due to sepsis, an infection in the blood.
A study conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association confirms the fact that emergency room errors are real and that these cause almost half of all deaths due to medical malpractice. Stroke, heart attack pulmonary embolism, and aneurysm are among the most frequently misdiagnosed health problems in the ER.
The most common reported reasons for ER errors ware poor communication between nurses and doctors, shortage of doctors and/or nurses, failure to communicate vital information regarding patient’s condition, lack of timely access to lab report, overworked and stressed nurses and staff, over-crowding and prolonged waiting time.
Regardless of how overcrowded emergency rooms may be, hospital employers should make sure that they have enough staff, nurses and doctors who will neither be too exhausted nor work longer than they ought to. In the event of mistakes, it shall be the legal obligation of medical staff members or even the hospital to compensate the patient for whatever unnecessary harm he or she has been made to suffer. For more information on this contact the attorney’s at Crowe & Mulvey, LLP.