A visit to the emergency room should come with quality care, clean and organized facilities, and proper staffing. Unfortunately, emergency rooms are not exempt from dangerous incidents of medical malpractice. In an emergency room, even a simple medical mistake could mean the difference between life and death for a patient.
Medical staff should be trained in how to deal with a large number of patients in an emergency room without elevating the risk of errors. If an emergency room is understaffed, however, this can lead to provider stress, burnout, rushed decisions and medical mistakes, including harmful diagnostic errors. Misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis and failure to diagnose could all lead to poor health outcomes for the patient.
If a patient receives the wrong medication, incorrect dosage or a drug meant for a different patient, he or she could have a serious reaction. The risks involved with medication errors in Connecticut include overdosing, adverse drug interactions, and severe or fatal allergic reactions. In addition, a patient given the wrong medication in an emergency room will not receive the correct medicine needed to treat his or her condition.
Improper Performance of a Medical Procedure
Emergency rooms can be busy and chaotic environments. However, this does not excuse a medical provider’s failure to correctly perform a medical procedure. Surgical errors, anesthesia mistakes, medical instrument contamination, patient mix-ups and giving a patient a transfusion of the wrong blood type are all examples of improperly performed procedures that could lead to patient injury, infection or death.
Unreasonable or unnecessary treatment delays in an emergency room can be avoided with a system that organizes new patients based on the type and severity of the medical emergency (triage). An organized structure can reduce patient wait times and ensure timely access to medical care.
Improper Patient Discharge
No patient should be discharged from an emergency room or hospital without treatment due to a lack of insurance, an inability to pay, discrimination or harassment, or an overcrowded facility. It is medical malpractice to prematurely or improperly discharge a patient without adequate care, treatment, health stabilization and follow-up instructions.
Lab and Test Result Errors
Medical technicians working in emergency rooms can make mistakes when reading or interpreting lab and test results. This can lead to incorrect health information being passed from a doctor to a patient and the potential for a misdiagnosis. Improper testing, miscommunication of results and other administrative errors can interfere with proper patient care.
Clear communication among the members of an emergency room’s medical team is critical. If any information gets lost in translation, major medical mistakes can arise, such as treating the wrong patient or operating on the wrong body part. Emergency room staff should have systems in place to minimize the risk of communication errors.
Failure to Follow Up
In many cases, a patient’s diagnosis or condition warrants follow-up visits or additional care. After an operation in an emergency room, for example, a patient should return to check for infections and other complications. Failing to follow up with a patient is a type of medical malpractice that could lead to a lawsuit if the patient suffers an injury as a result.
To discuss the possibility of bringing a medical malpractice claim for an emergency room error that injured you or a loved one in Connecticut, contact a Wallingford medical malpractice attorney to request a free consultation.