Emergency Room Malpractice Lawyer in Washington DC
Emergency rooms are busy places where medical personnel are expected to quickly and efficiently screen and treat people with a wide variety of conditions. The hectic pace and large number of patients inevitably leads to mistakes, the consequences of which can be catastrophic to the patient. When this happens, it is known generally as medical malpractice. One of the most common forms of medical malpractice is missed or delayed diagnosis, which occurs when a healthcare provider fails to diagnose a condition or disease, causing a delay in proper treatment.
A recent study showed that the leading reasons in the diagnostic process for missed or delayed diagnoses in the emergency department were failure to order an appropriate diagnostic test (58%), failure to perform an adequate medical history or physical exam (42%), and incorrect interpretation of a diagnostic test (37%). Fractures were the most common type of missed diagnosis, followed by infections, myocardial infarctions, and cancer. According to the study, clinicians failed to order tests because they did not know they were needed (93%) or they did not know they were indicated (52%). The most frequently missed diagnostic tests were radiographs, CT scans, cardiac enzymes, ultrasounds, and hematologic laboratory tests.
The study also found that 62% of misinterpreted test results by emergency room staff were due to medical judgment, while 24% were due to inexperience. Leading contributing factors were mistakes in judgment (87%), lack of technical competence or knowledge (58%), and lapse in vigilance or memory (41%). Other factors implicated in missed or delayed diagnoses were patient-related ones (34%), poor supervision (30%), inadequate sign-outs (24%), and excessive workload (23%).
Emergency room errors that lead to missed or delayed diagnosis can result in a worsening of the condition, the development of an entirely new condition, or even death. Victims of medical malpractice have rights under the law and may be entitled to receive compensation for damages they sustained. Compensation can cover present and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In the case of a wrongful death, damages may also include financial compensation to the victim’s family.
The laws of medical malpractice are complex and it can be difficult to figure out exactly what your rights are. If you or a family member has been the victim of an emergency room error, it is important to have a lawyer who is experienced in medical malpractice. The Abelson Law Firm, can help. We are very familiar with hospital and emergency room policies and procedures. For a free consultation you can contact us online. We will review your emergency room error claim with you and help you determine how to best proceed.