Stressed and fatigued doctors working on patient in operating room about to cause emergency room medical errors

Emergency room medical errors in Rhode Island often result in injury, which in many cases worsen a patient’s existing health issue and sometimes even result in his or her death. Studies show that nearly half of all injuries related to medical negligence or medical malpractice are caused by mistakes made in the emergency room. When individuals are placed in potentially life-threatening situations, there is an urgent need for care. This is when they are transported to hospital emergency rooms. The emergency room setting is an extremely high stress environment for doctors, hospital staff members as well as patients. Although mistakes are more likely to occur in such an environment, there is absolutely no excuse for substandard care.

Common ER Mistakes

The most common error that occurs in an emergency room is failure to properly diagnose the patient’s condition. These types of diagnostic errors lead to delayed or incorrect treatment or in some cases, even lack of treatment, which may cause serious harm to the patient. Due to the stressful nature of the emergency room environment, “errors of commission” are common where a doctor or staff member takes the wrong action or does the right thing incorrectly. Then, there are the errors of omission where an action that should have been taken was not taken.

Mistakes in the ER also occur when medical professionals fail to properly communicate with their teams or with patients and their families. Examples of mistakes that occur in emergency rooms include misdiagnosis of a medical condition, medication errors, misinterpretation of test results, ignoring or downplaying symptoms, delayed treatment and failure to order the necessary or appropriate tests. A study published in the Journal of Patient Safety in 2013 reported that as many as 400,000 people die each year in the United States due to preventable medical errors. The emergency room can be held accountable for a substantial portion of these fatalities.

What Causes Emergency Room Errors?

Doctor with an x-ray failing to diagnose problem which is a common mistake that occurs in the emergency room

Common causes of emergency room medical errors may include:

  • Understaffing
  • Staff members’ inexperience or lack of training
  • Overcrowding of the ERs
  • Lack of proper equipment or resources
  • Shortage of hospital beds
  • Stressed or fatigued staff
  • Failure to follow standard protocols
  • Failure to obtain patients’ medical history

Protecting Your Rights

The worth or value of an ER medical malpractice case depends on a number of factors. If you have been injured or harmed due to medical negligence in the emergency room, you may be able to seek compensation for damages such as medical bills, lost income, permanent injury, disability, disfigurement and pain and suffering. In some cases, where a case goes to trial, a judge or jury may award “punitive” damages. This is especially true in cases where the malpractice committed was egregious or extremely out of line with what any other doctor or hospital would have done.

Emergency Room Mistakes Lawyer meeting clients about an ER Medical Malpractice CaseIf you or a loved one has been injured due to a medical provider while being treated in the emergency room, it is important that you understand your legal rights and options. Our firm works with experienced emergency room malpractice lawyers in Rhode Island who charge no fees until you receive a settlement or award. Please contact us at 1-800-992-6878 for a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.

Author Photo

Paul d’Oliveira

Attorney Paul d’Oliveira has been practicing personal injury and disability law for over 30 years. He started his personal injury law practice in 1989 with two offices in Fall River, MA and East Providence, RI. Today his firm has 15 offices in RI and Southeastern, MA.

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