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Emergency Room Malpractice Errors

Steve Wagner

Emergency Room Malpractice Errors

Did you know that the leading cause of patient injury comes from a failure to diagnose? When you combine serious injuries and illnesses with the hectic environment of an emergency room, the errors only increase.

According to a study from The Doctor’s Company, the nation’s leading medical malpractice insurer, the most emergency room malpractice suits come as a result of the following:

  • 57% are the result of diagnostic related issues, like a failed differential diagnosis, or failure to consider available clinical information.
  • 13% result from the improper management of treatment, like failure to stabilize a patient’s neck after trauma, resulting in paraplegia.
  • 5% are the direct result of the improper performance in a procedure, like a failed intubation.
  • 3% of malpractice cases result as a failure to order or prescribe accurate medications in a timely manner.

Once this study was completed, it was reviewed by a panel of expert physicians who were able to offer some insight into the high 57% statistic for failed diagnosis and what often contributes to these cases. The physicians said contributing factors are often:

  • Patient obesity. If a patient is extremely overweight, they doctors may not have the proper equipment or ability to thoroughly examine the patient.
  • Failed communication between providers often leads to misunderstandings of a patient’s medical records.
  • A lack of medical records, as well as language barriers are often huge factors in misdiagnosis.
  • Misdiagnosis cases often happen over holidays or during weekend hours when the staff is lower or the hospitals are overloaded with cases.

While none of these factors excuse a misdiagnosis, we hope that they can provide you with some insight for how to avoid a potential injury in the hands of your doctor. How can you help?

  • Make sure your doctor has accurate information about your previous providers, your current medications and existing conditions.
  • If you are making an emergency room visit, have a friend call ahead to let them know you’re coming if you have sustained a serious injury.
  • If you have multiple hospitals in your area, and you have the time to check, call multiple hospitals and determine which one has the lowest wait time in their emergency room. Avoiding the crowds can cut down on your chances of injury, and increase your face-time with your physician.

Wagner Reese – Expert Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Remember that if you sustain an injury in an emergency room, the medical malpractice attorneys at Wagner Reese can help you recover your financial losses and pay for your medical bills. Give us a call at (888) 204-8440 to schedule your free consultation.


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