Emergency Rooms are busy and stressful; a place where even good medical professionals make mistakes. Hospitals are often understaffed, some use doctors who are contractors and not employees of the hospital. The doctors, surgeons, and nurses can be overworked and under staffed. Patients must be able to trust their doctors with their health, especially in an emergency situation, but with over 136 million emergency room visits per year in the United States, there is a high probability that you or your loved ones could be faced with an emergency room error that may result in serious consequences. Medical professionals strive to provide quality care and service to their patients, but the "standard of care" can sometimes slip and result in injury for you or your loved ones in hectic ER environments.
If you believe you or a loved one has been harmed or injured from an emergency room visit, contact Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation.
Types of Errors
Doctors and medical professionals in emergency rooms must often make quick decisions on the best course of action for their patients. These rushed decisions can result in a variety of errors that can seriously harm their patients. Such errors can include:
- A recent study of 332 closed emergency room claims found incorrect diagnosis to be the most common claim at 57%. This can include failing to diagnosis a patient (or giving a patient an incorrect diagnosis), not ordering the proper diagnostic tests, or misreading a patient's symptoms.
Delay in Treatment
- A small medical issue can turn serious if not treated in a timely manner. Maryland has some of the longest wait times for emergency room patients; the average amount of time an ER patient in Maryland waits before they see a doctor is 46 minutes, compared to the 24 minute national average. An improper handling of a patient can result in much longer wait times, or wait times disproportionate to the serious nature of a patient's health. Mistaken triaging (or prioritizing) of patients, not believing a patient's symptoms, or discriminatory practices can all lead to a delay in treatment.
- Patients can be given the wrong medication mistakenly, due to an error in communication, or due to a misdiagnosis. Medication errors can result in serious injury or even death in some cases.
- Laboratory errors like bad results or mishandled information can lead to incorrect diagnoses, or improper treatment. Lab results can be lost, incorrectly handled, switched with another patient's results, miscommunicated, or lab equipment can be faulty.
Improper Discharge or Failure to Follow Up
- A premature discharge, or a discharge that is too early for the patient, can result in return visits to the ER or to serious injuries. When you are discharged from the ER, you should have clear directions for any further treatment needed, and/or any medications you will need to take. Doctors can also fail to follow up with the patient or the patient's regular doctor about irregular test results or other serious or non-serious medical issues that could affect the patient's future health.
- There are many negligent errors that can occur in an ER setting. These include: patient dumping (transferring or discharging a patient for monetary purposes), treatment administered by an improperly trained medical professional, unsanitary conditions in the hospital or unsanitary medical equipment, x-ray errors, EMT errors, or any other form of negligence.
Standard of Care
Medical professionals are required to follow the "standard of medical care." "Standard of care" is a legal term often used in medical malpractice cases to define the level at which doctors and other medical professionals must operate. It simply says that doctors and other medical professionals are required to practice in a Reasonable and Prudent manor.
Am I eligible for compensation?
You may be eligible for compensation if an emergency room error resulted in:
- Wrongful Death
- Physical Injury
- Physical or mental pain and suffering
- Past or future loss of employment or income
- Medical bills or expenses caused by your injury
- Loss of other abilities to achieve activities of daily living
To be eligible for compensation for emergency room errors the following must be true:
- The medical professional named in your case had a doctor-patient relationship with you;
- Your medical professional failed to follow the standard of care in treating you;
- As a direct result of this action (negligence) you were harmed or injured; and
- The injury resulted in serious damages.
Results of ER error claims
Compensation for an emergency room error is awarded by looking at:
- The cost of medical treatments (both past and future) as a result of the negligence;
- Reimbursement amount for lost income or potential income; and
- The physical and mental pain and suffering the patient endured
See some of our recent case results here.
If you have been the victim of an emergency room medical error call 800-529-6162 to contact Gilman & Bedigian and schedule a free case evaluation today. Our highly skilled team is experienced with emergency room error cases and includes a medical professional on staff who can help evaluate your case.