The emergency room (ER) is a busy place but hospital staff still has a duty to meet the standard of care. This means recognizing which patients need treatment right now and which patients can wait. The failure to meet this standard of care can result in the failure to diagnose, delayed diagnosis, or misdiagnosis. According to the CDC, 1 in 5 Americans have visited the ER in the past year. Statistics show that 81% of these visits resulted in a discharge, 16% in hospitalization, 2% left without receiving treatment, and 1% resulted in death. Additionally, 35% of ER visits required an x-ray and 17% required another form of advanced imaging such as a CT or MRI (i).
According to the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), 136 million people visit the ER each year. The growing number of patients combined with hospital staff shortages has caused wait times to increase. Statistics show that patients who need immediate attention, that is, treatment within 1 to 14 minutes, have to wait double that amount of time. The ACEP warns that these waits can harm patients. “Emergency departments work hard to make sure the sickest patients are seen first and that all patients are seen in a timely manner, but when the resources of the ER are overwhelmed, patients may wait dangerously long for care” (ii). People who have been injured because their treatment was delayed in an ER, should talk to a medical malpractice lawyer about their legal options.
Attorney Paul d’Oliveira stated, “People go to the emergency because they need treatment immediately. Unfortunately, in many of these cases they are forced to wait as their condition worsens. If hospital staff fails to recognize the signs of a critical condition such as a heart attack or serious trauma, then the patient may suffer more severe injuries as a result. Our law firm maintains joint responsibility with experienced medical malpractice attorneys over these types of cases. For instance, we were contacted by a man who was turned away from the ER three times, which resulted in paralysis. We worked with another lawyer and the case settled for $1.25 million.”
The emergency room mistakes infographic lists common errors such as paramedic neglect, diagnosis errors, improper discharge of patients, and treatment errors. d’Oliveira & Associates is an injury and disability law firm with locations throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The law firm works with some of the more experienced medical malpractice lawyers, who handle these lawsuits, and there are no legal fees unless a settlement or award is obtained. To contact the firm call toll-free at 1-800-992-6878 or submit a contact form online.
- (i) Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
- (ii) American College of Emergency Physicians.