When something is drastically wrong with someone’s health and there are real risks of long-term consequences, people rush to the emergency room. Emergency rooms around the country see people with issues ranging from broken bones to a neurological event like a stroke.
Patients generally assume that the medical professionals working in an emergency room will be competent and will see to their needs in a timely manner. However, personnel in emergency rooms can and often do make mistakes when evaluating those in desperate need. They might even send someone home when that person requires medical intervention or monitoring.
Why are emergency room mistakes so common?
Heavy demand affects the care people receive
If there are few people asking for care at the emergency room when you arrive, you will likely have the full attention of the nurse at the front desk even if you just have a broken wrist. On the other hand, if the waiting room has no open chairs left, the people working there will have less time and energy to devote to each patient.
Instead of just talking in-depth with each new arrival, the emergency room staff will have to engage in triage procedures during times of high demand to prioritize who gets care. Triage requires evaluating patients both for the severity of their condition and the likelihood that intervention will make a difference.
Unfortunately, trying to make snap judgments can lead to mistakes, especially if people let their personal biases affect the decisions that they make. Someone’s history in a medical setting might mean they don’t take certain symptoms as seriously as others, for example.
Recognizing bad decisions in the emergency room as a form of medical malpractice can help you seek justice after a medical mistake affects your family.