Emergency rooms are chaotic, and emergency room doctors frequently have to make quick, life-or-death decisions for their patients. This chaotic environment can contribute to various types of emergency room errors that injure patients or even cause their deaths. When emergency room doctors, nurses, surgeons, or paramedics treat patients negligently, the victim has a right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit if the error has caused them serious harm.
Consult with a Santa Fe, New Mexico Emergency Room Error Lawyer
Have you ever loved one become injured due to an emergency room error that could have been prevented? If so, you are not alone. Many emergency room patients become injured every year during their visit by a doctor or staff member’s medical negligence. The experienced medical malpractice lawyers at Hunt Law are prepared to help you obtain compensation for your injuries. We offer potential clients a free initial consultation so you can discuss your case with us. Contact us today.
Common Emergency Room Errors
Doctors have a legal duty to treat patients reasonably under the circumstances. Doctors also inform patients about the treatment they provide and warn them about any potential side effects. Even in the best hospitals, carelessness and negligence can occur. Most of these errors are entirely preventable and are caused by carelessness or negligence. Some of the most common emergency room errors include the following:
- Diagnostic errors, such as delayed diagnosis and incorrect diagnosis
- Communication errors
- Documentation errors
- Triage errors
- Failing to obtain a complete medical history
- Overlooking important information when taking a patient’s medical history
- Failing to order the appropriate diagnostic tests
- Misreading or misinterpreting test findings
- Failure to notify the patient of test findings
- Medication errors, including giving the wrong type or dose of medication
- Failing to provide thorough follow-up instructions to the patient
- Prematurely discharging a patient from the hospital
- Making a mistake during emergency surgery
- Failure to review all of the patient’s current medication
Why Do Emergency Room Errors Occur?
There are multiple reasons why emergency room staff can make errors. Primarily, many doctors and staff members do not take the time to consider their patient’s medical background and their treatment plans before they administer treatment. The main three categories of emergency room errors are understaffing, inadequate training, and overworking.
Doctors and nurses are under extreme pressure to see patients as quickly as possible to discharge them and free up a bed in the emergency room. Many emergency room patients are treated in 15 minutes or less. It can be difficult for doctors to gain a thorough understanding of a patient’s pre-existing conditions, allergies, and symptoms in such a short amount of time.
One of the reasons doctors treat patients so quickly is due to chronic understaffing. Many emergency rooms are understaffed and do not have enough doctors and nurses on staff to provide patients with the attention and high-quality treatment they deserve. When hospitals are understaffed, they may be more likely to hire staff members who do not have the proper training to treat patients so they can increase their patient numbers.
Additionally, many emergency room doctors and nurses are exhausted because they’ve been overworked, sometimes having to work around-the-clock shifts. The more fatigued the emergency room doctor becomes, the more difficult it is for him or her to make wise decisions for patients.
The emergency room errors mentioned above have a wide range of dangerous effects on patients. Diagnostic errors are typically the most dangerous of all and can place a patient’s life in danger. Suppose a doctor misdiagnosed a patient’s cancer after misreading an x-ray. Instead of receiving treatment that would stop the spread of cancer, the cancer grew undeterred. Now the patient has terminal stage 4 cancer.
When patients have allergic reactions to medication due to overdosing or a lack of questioning about allergies, their oxygen supply can become cut off, causing brain damage. Some prescription medications have adverse effects on people with pre-existing medical conditions. When doctors prescribe the wrong medication, the interaction could cause death or organ damage.
Suppose a doctor fails to see the symptoms of stroke in a patient. He sends the patient home, and the patient has a stroke that night. The patient may suffer devastating paralysis that could have been prevented. In addition to physical injuries, victims of emergency room errors can also suffer mental illness, including anxiety disorder, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Errors and Pregnant Patients
Finally, pregnant women are always at a higher risk of injury when they visit the emergency room. If the doctors do not use the correct procedures or do not carefully analyze their patient’s chart, the procedures could affect the mother and the child inside the womb. Birth injuries in New Mexico can result from an emergency room doctor’s error when the doctor fails to triage the patient appropriately, overlooks a critical symptom, or incorrectly uses tools to deliver the baby.
Medical malpractice related to delivering babies can result in the mother’s death and the baby or life-altering birth injuries such as cerebral palsy. Suppose an emergency room doctor treats a pregnant woman and fails to recognize the symptoms of preeclampsia. The doctor sends her home, telling her to rest. The woman does have preeclampsia, begins having seizures, and ultimately passes away before making it back to the hospital.
Contact New Mexico Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
Becoming injured due to a preventable emergency room error can be devastating. At Hunt Law, we understand how difficult it is to pursue compensation through a medical malpractice case. Our law firm has the financial resources, professional network, and trial skills to successfully represent you. We will pay all of the expenses upfront, and you will only have to pay us if we succeed. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.