Emergency rooms play a critical role in modern healthcare in the United States. When physician’s offices are not open or someone has a medical issue that requires immediate attention and likely hospitalization, the patient can go to the emergency room.
The workers there can evaluate them and then secure admission to the hospital to start treatment more quickly than if someone had gone to their primary care physician first. Unfortunately, emergency rooms see a disproportionate amount of medical mistakes each year.
Why are emergency room medical mistakes so common? Several reasons:
Suddenly surges in demand
No matter how dedicated and well-trained emergency room employees are, sometimes demand overwhelms them. When there are more people coming in than staff on hand to assist them, some people may not receive the standard of care they could otherwise expect at the same facility.
Training or educational deficits
Did you know that heart attacks can cause significantly different symptoms for women when compared to men. When the people working in an emergency room aren’t familiar with the symptoms of uncommon conditions or with unusual presentations of common health concerns, they may deprioritize someone or even turn them away in a moment of medical crisis.
Someone in pain or sick may struggle to describe their symptoms. On the other hand, even those who have carefully communicated with medical staff likely won’t interact with the same help the entire time they are at the hospital. When emergency room staff don’t listen to patients or communicate with each other, those communication failures can affect someone’s diagnosis, treatment and overall prognosis.
Understanding why people working in the emergency room may fail the patients visiting there make you better able to advocate for yourself in a time of medical crisis.