The emergency room is undoubtedly one of the most hectic and chaotic places with over 136 million visitors each year, according to the CDC. Doctors, nurses, and other staff members have to move at a rapid pace and deal with unpredictable conditions on a daily, and sometimes hourly, basis. The risk for medical error in an emergency room is high; everyone is working at a much faster pace and under extreme stress. Sadly, when a mishap does occur, the complications can be much worse since the patient was already experiencing an extreme illness which got them there in the first place.
Injuries from Mistakes in the ER
Common errors in the emergency room include:
- Missing information
- Misdiagnosis of strokes, heart attacks, and other life threatening illnesses
- Failure to accurately fill out patient charts
- Double dosing medications or giving an incorrect amount of medication
- Failure to perform proper observation
- Contamination of equipment
- Cross contamination from other patients as a result of poor staff hygiene
- Misreading of X-rays
- Administering tainted blood during transfusions
The above mentioned errors are called medical malpractice and can lead to permanent illness and even death.
Protecting Yourself from Errors
For many patients and family members of patients, their visit to the ER is their first one and they wouldn’t easily recognize errors. In most circumstances, the patient and family members are extremely worried and stressed and have to lean on the ER staff by putting all of their trust in the doctors. If they do notice an error, they’re unlikely to speak up for fear that it will distract the nurse or physician ever further.
To avoid errors there’s a few things a patient or family moment can do:
- Ask nurses and doctors to wash their hands before examination
- Request that the equipment be cleaned or new sterile equipment be used
- When a diagnosis is given, ask questions and express concern
- Ask to see your chart and records
- Get a second opinion before making decisions on procedures or surgeries
Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. is a medical malpractice law firm located in Chicago, Illinois. Formore information, please visit us at www.medicalmalpractice-information.com.