Emergency room doctors helping patient

Common Medical Mistakes Made in the ER

The often fast-paced, high adrenaline, and high-pressure environment in an Emergency Room (ER) setting may make it no surprise that it is one of the most common places for medical mistakes to be made. Regardless, however, we trust emergency room doctors and healthcare workers to provide us the best possible medical care. While the chaotic nature of an emergency room may be a contributing factor for medical errors occurring, it is by no means an excuse. The trained medical professionals working in an emergency room remain subject to a duty of care in evaluating and treating patients. When there is a lapse in this duty of care and a patient suffers as a result, there is medical malpractice exposure and the patient may seek compensation for the harm they have suffered due to the medical error.

Common Medical Mistakes Made in the ER

Medical malpractice occurs when there is medical negligence. In other words, a doctor or other health care worker failed to uphold a duty of care and treat a patient as a similarly situated doctor or health care professional would and this lapse in their duty of care was the direct and proximate cause of harm sustained by the patient. This means if a doctor failed to act, evaluate, or treat a patient as a similarly qualified doctor would have done so under comparable circumstances, there could be medical malpractice if the patient was harmed as a result.

There are plenty of common medical mistakes made in the ER setting that can lead to medical malpractice claims. Some examples include:

  • Misdiagnosis: Again, the fast-paced environment along with the wide range of cases that come through an emergency room can contribute to misdiagnosis occurring. A misdiagnosis is when a patient is diagnosed with the wrong medical condition. Unfortunately, this can lead to critical delays in receiving the proper treatment needed for the correct medical condition. It can also lead to the patient receiving the wrong type of treatment leading to other types of damage to the body.
  • Medical procedure mistakes: Another common medical mistake in the ER is the improper performance of a medical procedure. Again, this can be caused in large part due to the rushed nature of the emergency room along with the fact that doctors and medical personnel sometimes must perform procedures which they do not have much, or any, experience performing.
  • Delayed treatment: Understaffed ERs and those with more patients than they can handle will commonly lead to delays in a patient receiving treatment. ER wait times can span hours. In the meantime, patient conditions can quickly worsen leading to irreversible damage or, in some cases, death.
  • Improper discharge: Amidst the hustle and bustle of the ER, medical workers may be overeager to keep patients moving out the door. Unfortunately, this means that a common ER mistake is the improper discharge of patients. Patients may be discharged without receiving proper care or without receiving proper discharge instructions. This type of oversight can land the patient in danger of going home only to need to return to the ER as their condition continues to worsen.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

ER mistakes are one of the common grounds for a bringing medical malpractice claim. If you have received substandard emergency room care and have suffered as a result, reach out to the medical malpractice team at Cooper, Schall & Levy. Contact us today.