The busiest unit of a hospital is its Emergency Room (ER). It is the most chaotic place that needs to be handled and managed with the utmost care. Emergency Rooms receive all kinds of patients, but it does not excuse the staff and doctors to get away with medical errors and malpractices. ER staff should be well-trained and vigilant to avoid the slightest error.
ER doctors and staff do not have a lot of time in hand to contemplate the course of treatment. ER negligence occurs because of not providing the standard of care or by breaching the SOPs laid for ER operations.
Standard of care is itself a legal term referring to the level of competence that the paramedics and doctors must conduct while treating the patients in the ER. Usually, the standard of care in an emergency room is not as high as it is in other units of a hospital where it is less chaotic. As in other units, doctors have enough time in hand to rule out other reasons for a medical condition and take their time for proper diagnosis. ER staff and doctors have to respond quickly under the circumstances.
ER Medical Malpractice can result in devastating health consequences and even death. This is why if an error does occur on part of a medical professional as a result of negligence the penalty is just as severe.
Here are some common ER Malpractices that can adversely impact patients causing:
- Pain and suffering
- Increased cost of medical bills
- Emotional trauma
- Lethal consequences
Some common errors reported in an emergency room include the likes of:
- Patient dumping
- Delayed treatment
- Ignoring symptoms
Out of all the above errors, misdiagnosis is the most common error that occurs in an emergency setting. Some common medical conditions that are misdiagnosed include infection, heart attack, stroke, and meningitis.
Emergency malpractice usually happens unintentionally but the most common causes of ER malpractice and errors are:
· Lack of training of paramedics
· Low staffing
· Fatigued staff
· High influx of patients
· Lack of adequate resources
· Not getting a medical history from the patient
These are the most common reasons but they shouldn’t be used as an excuse for errors that occur in an emergency room that can significantly impact a patient’s health. In case of proven ER medical malpractice or negligence, it entitles the patient to get compensated from the hospital as they are mostly on the hook for doctor’s or paramedic’s medical malpractice in the emergency room. This is because the patient in an emergency medical situation goes to the hospital ER, not to a particular doctor.
Having a high influx of patients makes doctors and paramedics shift from one patient to another. However, the hospital cannot turn any patient away from the emergency services under the Emergency Medical Treat and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) regardless of the patient’s ability to pay for the service. It is mandatory for the hospital to provide medical screening to the injured patient and stabilize him/her to the best of their abilities..
Patients should have adequate knowledge about his/her basic rights when being treated in an emergency unit of a hospital. Medical malpractice laws, particularly ER medical practice laws, are highly regulated and differ from state to state and country to country.