Some of the Deadly Errors Committed in Emergency Rooms
The following are specific cases of diagnostic errors committed in emergency departments:
A young man who complained of severe headache and nausea was rushed to the emergency department twice, his headache much worse than earlier when he was first rushed there. In both instances, he was simply diagnosed as suffering from viral infection and so was sent home. Two days after, he died due to massive brain hemorrhage.
A 42-year-old woman was diagnosed as simply suffering from chest pains. Two hours after she was discharged from the emergency department, she suffered a heart attack.
A male teenager complained of fever and chills; however, the medical staff at the emergency department sent him home after he was given Tylenol. He died a little later due to blood infection, a condition called sepsis.
Diagnostic error is the most common type of medical mistake doctors and nurses in emergency departments are guilty of. This type of mistake includes delayed diagnosis and wrongful diagnosis, which may actually be results of misjudgment of symptoms. Diagnostic error can lead to an injury that is more serious; in certain cases, it can lead to patient death.
The National Center for Health Statistics says that about 113.9 million Americans were rushed to emergency departments in 2003 due to life-threatening situations. Ten years after this, instead of the declining, the number jumped to 133.6 million.
Emergency departments are fast-paced environments where a medical team must provide the immediate attention required by all those who are brought there. Though medical needs differ from one patient to another, treatment must be fast, but with caution and accuracy, so as to prevent patients’ conditions from worsening or from not being treated at all. However, many of these fast-paced and over-crowded environments are understaffed, resulting to frequently overworked team members.
As pointed out in the website of the law firm Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., doctors are charged with the very lives of those in their care. While patients always hope that the medical professionals who treat them will provide them with the very best in care, the unfortunate reality is that medical professionals do not always live up to the standards of the profession, exposing unsuspecting patients to carelessness and recklessness that can have life-altering, and even fatal, results. Due to this, it is important to send a strong message to the medical community that carelessness will not go unnoticed or unpunished.