Emergency rooms can be chaotic and busy, and in Chicago, they are often full of medical staff quickly trying to diagnose and treat patients in pain. These circumstances can make it easy to misdiagnose a patient or to overlook the seriousness of an injury or illness. If you did not receive proper medical treatment in a Chicago emergency room, or if you were harmed because of a misdiagnosis, you may have cause to seek damages in a personal injury claim. Contact our experienced medical malpractice attorney today to schedule an initial consultation.
The Most Common Medical Errors in an ER
It is not surprising that mistakes can happen in the high-pressure environment of an emergency room, but a straightforward error can be devastating for families. Common emergency room mistakes include:
- Misdiagnosis, which can result in the wrong treatment or a lack of treatment,
- Incorrect performing of a procedure, especially when an ER doctor has never done it
- Delayed treatment, worsening the patient’s condition or injury
- Medication mistakes, prescribing the wrong drug or wrong dose
- Failure to notice latex or medication allergy
- Improper discharge, when the patient is not made aware of proper aftercare procedures
All of these errors can happen because doctors and nurses are in a rush or because the admitting personnel or triage nurse failed to gather the correct information.
Unfortunately, many of these mistakes result in the patient’s condition getting worse or, in the case of a missed allergy or poorly performed medical procedure, direct harm to the patient.
Why Do Emergency Medical Errors Happen?
Chicago emergency rooms are chaotic, understaffed, and often ill-equipped. Patients may be passed between several doctors or nurses, and you may see several different people while you are in the emergency room.
Therefore, you depend on the emergency room staff to communicate appropriately verbally and fill out your chart completely. However, in a rush, a nurse or doctor may forget to write something down or enter information incorrectly. Later, if someone else comes to treat you, they will do so according to the instructions left, which could cause harm.
Other times, emergency room errors can happen simply because the doctor or nurse has not been properly trained to complete a procedure or is unfamiliar with cases that present unusual symptoms. Hospitals and medical centers have a responsibility to train their staff, but still, mistakes can happen due to poor training.
Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to determine who is ultimately responsible for your Chicago emergency room error and subsequent harm in the worst-case scenarios.
Common Emergency Room Error Injuries
No one thinks that they will go to an emergency room to get worse. Some common results of emergency room blunders include:
- Stroke or heart attack
- Brain aneurysms
- Appendicitis complications
- Internal bleeding
- Infections, MRSA, or sepsis
Unfortunately, neglect and mistakes in the ER can worsen your current condition and even create a new emergency.
Do I have a case for emergency room error damages?
Not all emergency room mistakes meet medical malpractice standards, a term that includes cases of medical misdiagnosis and medical neglect. Your Chicago emergency room error attorney can tell you for sure whether your circumstances meet the thresholds for these claims.
However, as a general rule, the plaintiff must be able to prove that they sustained severe injuries because of the mistake and that the doctor, nurse, or medical center was the cause of their injuries.
Virtually all emergency room mistakes can be prevented, though, and can typically be considered medical malpractice. However, it may not be the doctor’s fault. Instead, you could have suffered because of decisions made by the hospital you visited.
Many hospitals may not have the right staffing ratios in their ER departments. Your doctor may be doing their best to give you the highest level of care, but the lack of medical professionals can inhibit patient care.
Proving this can be tricky. You need a lawyer who understands all of the reasons that medical malpractice can happen and can pinpoint the reasons that yours did.
What kinds of damages can I seek with an ER malpractice claim?
ER damages can include economic damages, such as paying for additional medical treatment for the injury you suffered, and non-economic ones, like pain and suffering you experienced because of your treatment.
If your loved one died as a result of an emergency room mistake, then you have a case for wrongful death against the doctor or the hospital, which can include additional damages.
Finally, if your Chicago emergency room error lawyer can demonstrate that the hospital created conditions that deliberately led to negligence with patient care, then you could ask for punitive damages, which is like a hefty fine, to deter the hospital from making poor decisions in the future.
Do Not Try to Fight the ER Alone — a Chicago Emergency Room Error Lawyer Can Help
To successfully pursue a claim for medical malpractice due to an emergency room error, you need a talented personal injury attorney. The team at Hale & Monico can help. Contact us today for a free consultation on your case.