Emergency room doctors have the difficult task of treating the most severely injured patients in desperate need of help. Because of their high stakes and high pressure job, doctors in the ER are prone to making mistakes, which can unfortunately lead to more injuries or worsening conditions.
Though an ER doctor may save your life, the treatment you receive in the emergency room may also amount to medical malpractice. According to a new study by the country’s largest medical malpractice insurer, the following are the most common reasons that emergency room doctors are accused of negligence.
Failures in Diagnosis
According to the study, 57% of claims against emergency room doctors come about as a result of a bad diagnosis. When an ER is busy, a doctor may take the time to consider all available information or order any additional diagnostic test. When this happens, mistakes get made.
Many times, the conditions that a doctor misdiagnoses in the ER are very serious. A heart attack may be brushed off as indigestion, or the confusion from a stroke may be dismissed as just old age. When a condition like a stroke, pulmonary embolism, or other serious disease is misdiagnosed or there is a delay in discovering the condition, the consequences are often deadly.
Poor Treatment Management
The next most common claims against emergency room doctors are allegations of improper treatment. This type of claim accuses doctors of failing to take the proper precautions when treating a patient. For example, a wound may not be thoroughly cleaned, leading to infection, or a doctor or nurse’s actions in handling the patient may exacerbate the injury.
A treatment or medical procedure may be the correct one to treat an injury, but if it is performed improperly it can lead to injury. When a needle, catheter or intubation tube is inserted incorrectly, the treatment itself can cause additional harm to the patient.
Failure to Order Medication
In some instances, a doctor can be liable for failing to prescribe life-saving medication. The recommended protocol for treating medical events like heart attacks or strokes requires that certain medications are given within certain time frames. If a doctor’s negligence results in the patient not receiving this medication, and if that patient is harmed as a result, the doctor may be liable for malpractice.
Visiting the emergency room can be a scary and emotional experience. If you were treated in an ER and your treatment felt rushed, never hesitate to get a second opinion on your condition. If you believe than an emergency room doctor or medical staff made your condition worse, or failed to diagnose your condition properly, you may have a claim for medical malpractice.
At the Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq., our experienced staff of legal and medical professionals can evaluate your medical malpractice case and help you understand your rights. If you would like to speak with a knowledgeable Los Angeles medical malpractice attorney, contact Bradley I. Kramer today by calling (310) 289-2600 or use our online case evaluation form to have your claim reviewed for free.