People seek care in emergency rooms when they need immediate treatment or when other medical facilities are not open. Although the professionals working in emergency rooms are often some of the most dedicated and skilled medical workers, catastrophic mistakes still occur in modern emergency rooms.
Misdiagnosis and failing to treat someone are arguably among the most common mistakes that occur in emergency room settings. Why are diagnostic and treatment issues so common in facilities intended to provide emergency care?
Staff members may not communicate
When there are a large number of people seeking care at the emergency room, the staff will do their best to apply triage practices. They will try to get help to those in most need as quickly as possible based on the severity of the condition and the likelihood of responding to treatment.
However, staff members may not adequately communicate or include all of the information they received in the medical files for a patient. Communication issues are one of the leading causes of adverse outcomes in emergency room settings.
Medical professionals let their biases affect care
An individual’s appearance, sex or gender, or race might affect the kind of care that they receive in the emergency room. There could be staff members who make certain groups of people wait longer or listen to them less.
There are also sometimes knowledge gaps, especially when it comes to women seeking care. Strokes and heart attacks, for example, present differently in men than in women, and staff may not know all of the female symptoms.
Distraction abounds in the emergency room
To reach a logical conclusion or effectively communicate about a patient, a nurse or other emergency room employee must remain focused. Whether their phone starts ringing or another patient pulls them aside to ask a question, distraction can affect how well someone remembers information and how quickly they fulfill job responsibilities.
When emergency room workers make mistakes, they may fail to treat someone who is in immediate need or even turn someone away from the facility. Recognizing emergency room mistakes as an actionable form of medical malpractice can lead to a compensation claim and better practices at the facility.