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Why do so many medical mistakes take place in emergency rooms?

On Behalf of | Jun 18, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

Sometimes, you have an injury or a new symptom that is so serious you can’t wait to make an appointment with your doctor. You need a medical evaluation as soon as possible. People in these kinds of situations often end up going to the emergency room or urgent care facilities.

The staff working at these medical facilities has the crucial job of determining who needs care quickly and allocating resources appropriately. Unfortunately, mistakes and oversight happen all the time in the emergency room.

People get turned away when they need to be admitted to the hospital. Others end up waiting for hours as their condition worsens because medical workers don’t realize how badly they need help. Why do so many errors happen in emergency rooms?

High-pressure environments can lead to bad decisions

Sometimes, emergency rooms have very little traffic or demand. Other times, they have to turn people away. The more people there are flooding into an emergency room, the easier it could be for staff to overlook the needs of a specific individual.

Beyond that, staff needs to make quick judgments about who needs to see a doctor immediately. When someone presents unusual symptoms for a serious condition, hospital staff may not recognize the issue until things worsen.

What causes serious emergency room mistakes?

According to research on emergency department failures, information processing errors caused 45% of emergency room mistakes that led to re-hospitalization of a patient. Issues with verifying data gathered, failing to get adequate information or misjudging the importance of certain information also all contributed to the rate of mistakes made by medical staff in emergency rooms.

Almost all medical mistakes in emergency rooms that lead to patients needing to come back for treatment or to seek treatment elsewhere stem from the information staff gathers about patients. The staff tasked with making decisions about whom to treat and when can make major mistakes in judgment, fail to record information that would lead to better treatment or even miss the signs of a serious issue.

If you or someone you love was turned away or ignored when seeking emergency treatment, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim.