Negligence in Emergency Rooms
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Stewart J. Eisenberg with Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C..
When negligence occurs in an emergency room, the effects can be disastrous. Emergency room negligence is one type of medical malpractice for which a person can seek compensation if injured. Medical malpractice occurs when a health care professional, medical facility, or emergency room does not exercise a proper standard of care, which results in the serious injury or even death of a patient. Emergency rooms are fast-paced, high-stress environments, so it’s easy for mistakes, overworking, burnout, and more to lead to negligent behavior.
There are a variety of common areas where negligence may occur in an emergency room.
While some acts of negligence are specific to emergency room scenarios, others are common types of medical malpractice across the board. Some common areas of negligence within an emergency include the following:
- Paramedic, first responder, and/or EMT neglect
- Failure to see a patient in a timely enough manner
- Refusing patient care without just cause
- Contaminated blood transfusions
- Discharging a patient before it is safe to do so
- Failure to order necessary tests
- Misinterpreting test results
- Medication errors
- Anesthesia errors
- Surgical errors
If you or a loved one have suffered from emergency negligence in these or other ways, seek further medical treatment immediately.
Primary reasons identified for emergency room negligence include overworking, burnout, and lack of communication.
As with any field, it’s easy to become complacent in one’s duties. While the majority of emergency room staff are highly-trained, responsible individuals who care first and foremost for their patient’s safety, negligence still occurs. There are a variety of assumed causes for negligence in the majority room, including:
- Inadequate staffing: When an emergency room employs too few care providers, they can find themselves overwhelmed by patients in need of care. This can lead to long wait times, rushed treatment, and other elements of the care process that can lead to further injury or even death for a patient in need.
- Improper staffing: Failure to hire highly-trained emergency room staff with trustworthy credentials and necessary experience can result in a myriad of serious healthcare errors.
- Overcrowding: When there is not enough room in an emergency care facility to house and provide treatment for all patient’s in immediate need, this can lead to significant oversights and lack of material, both of which can cause further harm to patients.
- Overworking: It is unfortunately not uncommon for emergency room staff to work long hours without a break, or too many shifts in one week. When staff are overworked not only does fatigue play a part in medical mistakes, but overworking can quickly lead to burnout.
- Burnout: An emergency room is a high-stress environment, and it’s easy to feel burned out after working there for any amount of time. Without proper breaks, staffing, and staff support programs, it can be easy for burnout to run out of control and result in complacency and negligent mistakes.
- Lack of communication: Failure to communicate a patient’s condition or necessary treatment from one staff member to another can result in serious consequences for the patient. It is imperative that emergency room staff remain thoroughly communicative regarding each patient’s condition, even when they are busy with multiple patients.
If you or a loved one suffered from emergency room negligence, it’s important to know what steps you can take toward recovery. Seek additional medical care for your new or worsened injuries, and reach out to a medical malpractice to attorney to discuss your options for physical and financial recovery.