Many times, the first line of medical care in handling traumatic injuries or serious medical problems is the Emergency Room at your local hospital. It is usually the first place someone goes if there is a sudden or drastic change in his or her usual state of health, sometimes in the middle of the night. Going to the emergency room is a highly stressful situation in which the patient is relying on immediate and skillful medical decision-making. It is estimated that in the last 15 years, the number of emergency room visits has increased by about 40% nationwide. This amounts to as many as 31 million or more emergency room visits per year.
ER doctors, nurses, and other staff are supposed to be fully-trained to recognize potentially life-threatening medical issues and to attend to those medical issues in a timely and competent way. ER providers must comply with the applicable standard of care for the average qualified doctor or nurse in treating a patient under their care, and do so in a way that ensures the patient’s health and safety. This includes taking a careful medical history, documenting the patient’s complaints and vital signs, performing a thorough examination, ordering the right tests, and looking for the signs and symptoms that should guide the medical provider in deciding what the problem is and what the appropriate course of treatment should be.
Mistakes Can Happen
Sometimes, things in the emergency room go wrong. X-rays may be misread, less qualified physicians or nurses may not recognize the signs and symptoms of an impending catastrophic medical event, patients may be given the wrong medication, and others may be sent home with the wrong diagnosis. These errors can be caused by language barriers, or emergency rooms that are overcrowded or understaffed. Usually, though, they are due to a lack of due care when it comes to dealing with a particular patient or medical problem. When a mistake is made in the emergency room, it can have far-reaching, permanent, and sometimes devastating consequences for the patient and the patient’s family.
Were You a Victim of ER Negligence?
Failure to diagnose a heart attack or stroke, failure to recognize a serious closed-head injury or bleeding in the brain, failure to detect a tumor or other abnormality on an X-ray or CAT scan, failure to diagnose a fracture—these are just some of the types of medical problems that may occur if the emergency room staff is not vigilant enough, not adequately trained, or simply overlooks some of the important clues when a patient is brought in. Tragically, some of these medical errors may result in permanent impairment, paralysis or even death. A doctor or nurse’s failure to comply with the appropriate standard of care in addressing a particular medical problem in an emergency room setting may constitute medical malpractice for which a patient or a patient’s family may have a legal claim for damages.
If you believe that you or someone you love may be the victim of an emergency room error, and suffered a serious complication or permanent injury, contact the attorneys at Keches Law Group, P.C. for a free consultation. Our attorneys have many years of experience and are skilled at reviewing the medical records to determine whether a medical mistake has occurred. We will help guide you through the complex and challenging legal landscape of a medical malpractice case.
The medical malpractice department at Keches Law Group can help you figure out whether you have a case, and what steps to take next. Call Keches Law Group at 617-898-0808 for a free consultation today, or visit us online.