Any local emergency room is the first line of defense against catastrophic medical issues. In theory, the professionals that staff an emergency room do their best to screen people as they enter and to get people the treatment they require as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, emergency rooms are responsible for a significant percentage of the medical mistakes that occur in the United States annually. Millions of people don’t get the support that they need when they are experiencing a medical emergency and this situation can result in catastrophic consequences as a result.
The scope of emergency room failures is shocking
Given that those working in emergency rooms have extensive training and only see the most intense levels of demand occasionally, patients might trust that they will receive timely care and appropriate support when arriving at their local emergency room.
However, researchers have found that roughly seven million medically-significant mistakes occur in emergency rooms every year in the United States. Many errors involve emergency room workers failing to understand the severity of someone’s condition and treat them with the urgency required to stabilize them or save their life.
For example, a woman presenting with a heart attack or stroke may have much different symptoms than a man, which may go overlooked and untreated despite her seeking out immediate medical support. People get turned away from emergency rooms or deprioritized, meaning that they wait a long time for basic care.
Communication errors are also a concern. Staff members may fail to relay information to one another or may misunderstand what a patient attempts to communicate to them. Such errors can negatively affect a patient’s prognosis and may drastically delay the diagnostic process.
Emergency room errors are often preventable
The tragic truth about mistakes in emergency rooms is that most of them don’t need to happen. Better practices by individual healthcare professionals and the facilities that employ them could make a huge difference for those depending on emergency support for an unanticipated medical event.
Those who recognize that they did not receive appropriate care in an emergency could potentially pursue a claim against the facility that turned them away or delayed treatment. Those who have lost a loved one due to emergency room mistakes may also have the right to demand compensation for that medical malpractice. Pursuing a medical malpractice claim after an emergency room error can financially compensate those who have been affected and hopefully lead to changes at the medical facility where the mistake occurred.