Common Forms of Emergency Room Negligence

A recent study of emergency room negligence claims reviewed hundreds of cases in order to determine the top causes. Among the many unique cases, researchers were still able to identify four main causes of emergency room negligence.

Diagnosis-Related Mistakes: Diagnosis-related errors account for a majority of emergency room negligence claims. A Johns Hopkins study found that diagnosis errors are the leading cause of serious medical errors in the U.S. and are primarily due to misdiagnosis, delays in making diagnoses, or failure to diagnose.

Incorrect Management of Treatment: Making up 13% of the studied medical negligence claims, negligence in managing treatment at emergency rooms applies to all acts performed during a patient’s hospital stay. This could include improper stabilization for neck injuries, communication issues between emergency room medical care staff, or otherwise failure to follow the established protocol for treating specific injuries.

Improper Performance of a Medical Procedure: In some cases, medical care team members make mistakes in carrying out a particular medical procedure. This could occur during any common emergency room procedure, such as intubation, laceration repair, lumbar punctures, or simply placing an IV line.

Failing to Order Medication: During medical emergencies, doctors and staff should realize when they need to act quickly. This includes properly ordering and administering the right and necessary medications. Failures reported in the study reported issues like antibiotics not being ordered in a case of suspected pneumonia.

What Factors Does a Lawyer Look for in Emergency Room Negligence?

Understanding how negligence happens in emergency rooms is an important start, but it may be even more important to explore why. Emergency rooms are a unique healthcare environment, but these doctors have been specially trained to deal with the unexpected.

Experts reviewed the top four negligence causes to establish what factors most often lead to preventable emergency room patient injuries and death, and in over half of the reviewed cases, the negligence occurred during patient assessment. The very nature of emergency rooms means the entire treatment process, including assessing the issue, ordering tests, and establishing a course of treatment has no room for errors. Another study of ER doctors found a greater rate of death when patients arrived with “nonspecific complaints.” This might include general complaints like headache, stomachache, or lethargy, all of which can be attributed to numerous causes.

For that reason, doctors and nurses are strictly advised to avoid first impression-based diagnoses or going off a “hunch.” Additionally, doctors should make differential diagnoses, a process that involves reviewing symptoms and preexisting health factors and establishing all possible diagnoses. They should then rule out the worst-possible diagnoses first before moving down the list. This comparative process helps doctors to rule out certain conditions and narrow them down to the actual cause.

Another significant issue in emergency rooms is a lack of communication between providers. This might take the form of failure to review charts, improper documentation, or just generally poor rapport between members of an ER staff. Doctors rotate through patients all day, and it’s not uncommon for a patient to be treated by numerous members of the team. Some members of the staff may even give inadequate information to a doctor taking over the patient’s care. When documentation is done poorly or there are conflicting methods of treatment, the possibility for negligence is significantly higher.

Why You Need An Attorney

Individual ER doctors, nurses, and entire hospitals can be held responsible for your injuries depending on your unique accident. No matter who is at fault, though, you must prove certain elements to have an opportunity to recover compensation.

Our attorneys can help you by utilizing our time and resources to show the following:

  • The hospital or doctor had a duty of care they owed to you, the patient
  • The hospital or doctor breached this duty of care
  • Injuries occurred as a direct result of this breach of care, also known as negligence
  • The negligence also contributed to damages

You should know that hospitals and ER doctors are sued regularly and are prepared to approach your claim with their team of defense lawyers. Along the same vein, lawsuits can be complicated and time-consuming. You deserve to be represented by a firm that can protect your rights and has no issue with going up against these medical institutions.

The doctors, nurses, and other professionals of a hospital have a duty to provide the best possible treatment for their patients. When best practices are ignored, it can lead to preventable injuries and death. That’s when you need a top-notch Indianapolis emergency room negligence attorney to represent your best interests. If you’ve experienced negligence in the emergency room, don’t hesitate to reach out to an Indianapolis medical malpractice lawyer at Christie Farrell Lee & Bell. We’re here to advocate for your rights and help you navigate through the complexities of your case.

Call our law firm team if you’ve been injured in Indianapolis or the surrounding areas at 317-488-5500.