Traffic through emergency rooms in the United States has been on the rise. Americans visit the emergency room more than 140 million times a year. That’s 43 visits for every 100 Americans. Visits to the emergency room are more frequent than visits to primary care physicians. With this high volume of patients seeking treatment in the emergency room, hospitals must make sure they are adequately staffed to meet the demand. When an emergency room doesn’t have enough staff, patients run the risk of being injured.
The Pressures of an Understaffed Emergency Room
When emergency rooms are understaffed, this puts pressure on doctors and other medical professionals to turn over beds. This means that doctors do everything they can to get patients out of the emergency room. In such a high-pressure environment, patients with serious conditions may be overlooked and don’t receive the care they need. Some common mistakes that can occur in an understaffed emergency room include:
- Failing to diagnose a patient due to inadequate staff or a doctor who is pressured to clear a bed.
- Patients being given the incorrect medication
- Patients being given incorrect blood transfusions
- Errors caused by miscommunications and failure to thoroughly read a patient’s chart
- Treatment of the wrong patient
- Ignoring a patient’s concerns
Any of these incidences can lead to a serious illness or injury that could have been prevented with proper emergency room staffing.
Just because staff are overworked and an emergency room is understaffed, does not mean that medical professionals can ignore the standard of care. Doctors have an obligation to treat patients in line with the standard of care and to avoid medical negligence. A patient has the right to expect that they will receive adequate treatment when they arrive in an emergency room. An emergency room has an obligation to ensure that it is properly staffed to protect the safety of the patients.
Contact a Trusted Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you have been injured due to an understaffed emergency room, you may want to have an experienced attorney evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have been helping the victims of medical negligence for over 50 years. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.