Sometimes a visit to the emergency room (ER) can do more harm than good. There are many reasons this can happen, and while it can be an extremely busy area of a hospital, you shouldn’t have to suffer due to negligence or understaffing, especially if the negligence has caused you to become sicker and/or miss work. Here is everything you need to know about the different forms of ER negligence and what you should do next. 

Contamination

ER, as well as the rest of the hospital, should use sterile equipment and clean everything to standard. This is normal practice and should be followed by all staff members. The most common form of contamination happens through the transfusion of blood and blood products. It has been known for patients to be given a blood transfusion from a donor who has a bloodborne disease, such as Hepatitis or HIV

Medicine Error/Miscalculation

In a busy ER room, it is all too easy for staff members to get distracted or miscalculate a medicine. This is why staff members are regularly trained on medicines. All medicines should be prescribed by a physician and the dose checked against guidelines by a nurse before administering. It may be due to a miscalculation that you were given an overdose of a drug, leading to complications and the need to stay in for monitoring. It may be that you were given a drug that you are allergic to, or given another patient’s medicine; this all falls under ER negligence.  

Injury

Certain procedures can have a risk of injury, but healthcare professionals have a duty of care to ensure they do anything that they can do to prevent injury. Negligence or carelessness of staff members could result in an injury that could have been easily avoided. An example of this is extravasation due to a cannula not being checked while an intravenous medicine is being administered. While this is more common in those undergoing chemotherapy, it can happen with other medicines too. 

Misdiagnosis/Delayed Diagnosis

Sometimes physicians can misdiagnose or take too long to catch an illness or disease that could be life-threatening. Misdiagnosis could cause many more health problems and leads to patients being given medications for an illness they do not have. A delayed diagnosis may lead to a critical situation, especially in the case of sepsis or meningitis. If a loved one was misdiagnosed or had a delayed diagnosis which resulted in a death that could have been avoided, here is how you can begin to cope with your grief before you can think about fighting their case. 

Finding a Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you or a loved one has dealt with any of the above, you need to find a medical malpractice lawyer with a good reputation that you can trust to bring your case to justice. If you live in Pennsylvania, finding an Allentown medical malpractice lawyer that has worked on similar cases means that you can be confident that your lawyer understands these cases and has the skills and empathy to deal with them. When taking your case to a lawyer, be sure to have collected as much evidence as possible. If you are unsure where to even begin, your lawyer can help you through every step along the way. 

If you have been misdiagnosed or injured as a result of your visit to the ER, don’t sit back and say nothing. Speak to a lawyer who can assist you in building a solid case and getting compensation. While it may not help with your health, compensation can aid in paying medical bills and recompensate you for any missed work. 

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "Are You a Victim of Emergency Room Negligence?," in Medicalopedia, October 10, 2019, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/7847/are-you-a-victim-of-emergency-room-negligence/].