People go to the emergency room because they have a medical emergency, but not everyone who heads to the ER has an equally serious condition. Additionally, doctors in the ER may not have access to a patient’s medical records and history. Skilled ER doctors and nurses must assess medical needs through the process of triage. Patients with serious medical conditions need to see a doctor before people with less serious conditions.

What if the ER doctor is not informed about all of a patient’s vital signs when a shift changes? Medical errors in judgment can result when information is lost when a new team takes over. Types of emergency room errors that can lead to serious injury include: missing obvious signs of respiratory distress, missing heart attack or stroke symptoms, misreading test results, and giving medications at incorrect dosage or where contraindicated. Studies show that heart attacks are among the most frequently missed diagnoses. Strokes too often go misdiagnosed. But, many other conditions can be missed when a patient presents to an emergency room if reasonable care is not given.

When emergency room doctors and nurses fail to do their jobs, or a system of checks and balances is not instituted or enforced, people suffer. If you need help with an emergency room related treatment issue in Indiana, please call our medical malpractice team.

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