Does medical malpractice occur in hospital emergency rooms? | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), emergency rooms around the country treat more than 140 million patients each year. This means there are approximately 400,000 people visiting ERs every single day. Unfortunately, the atmosphere in many emergency rooms is frequently chaotic which often contributes to incidents of malpractice.

Emergency rooms depend on triage when deciding how and when patients should be treated. Each member of the ER team – admissions personnel, nurses, doctors – determine what the level of urgency each patient has. For example, a patient is brought in by ambulance, suffering from internal bleeding and other injuries as a result of a car crash. That patient will be brought in for treatment immediately over another patient who has come in with a sprained ankle who has been waiting to be seen for an hour.

Hospitals need to have written policies and procedures in place which set a standard of care all staff must adhere to and to make sure facility staff are trained in these procedures in order to ensure they consistently make accurate triage decisions. Violation of this standard of care can cause a patient’s injury or illness to worsen or cause a new – and preventable – condition. When this occurs, the injured patient could have a medical malpractice case against the hospital.