Is Malpractice a Problem in Florida Emergency Rooms?
Unfortunately, yes, emergency room malpractice is a significant issue in Florida, just as it is throughout the rest of the country. When you or a loved one are in an emergency medical situation, you trust that healthcare professionals will do their best to ensure your well-being. However, mistakes can occur in an emergency room's high-stress, fast-paced environment, ranging from misdiagnosis to surgical errors, and these can have devastating consequences.
As a law firm experienced in ER & hospital malpractice cases in Florida, we aim to shed light on these issues and provide guidance to those who may have been affected. In this blog, we will cover some of the most common ER malpractice issues, providing valuable insights on navigating the complex legal landscape if you believe you've been a victim of malpractice.
What Causes ER Errors?
ER errors often occur due to several factors. One of the primary causes is the high volume of patients coupled with understaffing, which can lead to rushed decision-making and treatment. Miscommunication among medical professionals, particularly during shift changes, is another common cause, leading to critical information being overlooked or misinterpreted. Lack of sufficient training, fatigue, and failure to follow established medical protocols can also contribute to ER errors.
However, while ERs are high-stress environments, medical professionals are still required to provide standard care to every patient. When these standards are not met, resulting in harm to the patient, it may constitute malpractice.
Keep reading to learn about three of the most common ER medical errors and what you can do if you or a loved one is injured due to ER malpractice or negligence.
Diagnosis errors are one of the most common types of mistakes made in emergency rooms. They occur when a healthcare professional incorrectly identifies or fails to diagnose the patient's condition correctly or promptly. In some cases, these errors may result from rushed diagnoses made in the hectic environment of an ER or misinterpretation of a patient's symptoms. In others, they may be due to failure to review a patient's medical history properly or to order appropriate diagnostic tests.
Examples of diagnosis errors include:
- Misdiagnosis of heart attack symptoms as indigestion or panic disorder
- Failure to diagnose stroke, leading to irreversible brain damage
- Incorrectly diagnosing bacterial infections as viral, leading to improper treatment
- Overlooking symptoms of severe conditions like sepsis or meningitis
- Misdiagnosis of fractures or other injuries, leading to improper or delayed treatment
These errors can lead to incorrect or delayed treatment, potentially worsening the patient's condition or even leading to fatal outcomes.
Medication & Prescription Errors
Medication and prescription errors are other critical issues in the ER setting. These errors can occur at any stage, from prescribing to dispensing and administering medication. Such mistakes often happen due to poor communication, inadequate patient information (like allergies or existing medications), misinterpretation of prescriptions, or simply human error in the fast-paced ER environment.
Examples of medication and prescription errors include:
- Administering the wrong medication to a patient
- Prescribing or administering incorrect dosage levels
- Overlooking potential drug interactions, especially in patients on multiple medications
- Failing to account for a patient's allergies when prescribing medication
- Administering medication to the wrong patient
Such errors can cause serious harm to the patient, including adverse drug reactions, deterioration of their health condition, and in extreme cases, could even be life-threatening. When these errors are due to negligence or failure to follow professional standards of care, it could be a case of medical malpractice.
Wrongful discharge is another frequent issue in emergency rooms. It occurs when a patient is prematurely discharged from the ER before their condition has been properly stabilized, diagnosed, or treated. This could be due to factors such as overcrowding, understaffing, or misjudgment on the part of healthcare professionals.
In some scenarios, patients are sent home with insufficient instructions for aftercare or without conducting necessary tests to verify their medical condition. This can lead to a significant deterioration in the patient's health or even fatal consequences if severe conditions are not detected and treated in time.
Instances of wrongful discharge can include:
- Discharge despite the patient's unstable vital signs
- Failure to perform necessary tests or evaluations before discharge
- Failure to arrange follow-up care for patients with serious conditions
- Neglecting to give proper instructions for home care, resulting in complications
If a patient suffers harm due to such negligent actions, it could be deemed a case of ER medical malpractice.
Where to Turn for Help
If you or a loved one has been injured due to negligence or malpractice in an emergency room, you are not alone and do not have to go through this alone. Consulting with a malpractice attorney experienced in handling complex hospital and ER cases can significantly help when safeguarding your rights and seeking rightful compensation.
At Rash Mueller, our legal team has extensive experience in handling ER malpractice cases in Florida, and we are committed to assisting individuals and families who have been affected by these unfortunate incidents. We understand the complexities of these legal cases and work tirelessly to pursue justice for our clients.
We are ready to provide valuable guidance, help you navigate the intricate legal landscape, and represent your case with determination and professionalism. If you believe you've been a victim of ER malpractice, don't hesitate to contact us for a consultation. Your health and your rights are our utmost priority.