When the Emergency Room Wait Leads to Death

When the Emergency Room Wait Leads to Death

Emergency rooms are open 24 hours a day because illnesses and injuries are not limited to occurring on weekdays between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm when doctors’ offices are open. People visiting the emergency room are either there because they sustained severe injuries that could only be treated in a hospital or because the illness or injuries were sustained when their regular medical facilities were closed and their conditions were too serious to delay treatment until the offices were open again. For these reasons, it only makes sense that patients in the emergency room need to be treated as quickly as possible, but sometimes patients are not treated as quickly as they should be and their health suffers as a result.

Damage caused by delay in treatment

A delay in treatment can be extremely detrimental in some cases. In an emergency room patient safety article, the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority retells a story of a man entering a Philadelphia area emergency room due to pains on his left side. After registering with emergency room staff, he sat down in the waiting room and it was not until an hour later that another patient, also waiting for treatment, alerted staff that the man was dead. He suffered a heart attack and died while waiting to be seen.

This tragic tale is just one example of the harm that can be caused by a delay in treatment. As our Philadelphia medical malpractice experts at The Weitz Firm, LLC know, the harm may not always be deadly, but delayed treatment can cause injuries to worsen or cause additional injuries. Delays may also cause the need for additional treatment such as a blood transfusion due to losing too much blood in the waiting room.

Longest wait time in Philadelphia

An NBC10 news report covered the especially long wait times in the greater Philadelphia area emergency rooms. Research for the report found that the three hospitals with the longest wait times had median wait times of over one hour before patients were treated in the emergency room. The longest wait time belonged to a hospital in Philadelphia that clocked a 66-minute median wait time.

Other types of ER malpractice

Emergency room malpractice is not limited to injury inducing wait times. Other types of malpractice that frequently takes place in emergency rooms include the following:

  • Failure to diagnose
  • Improper discharge
  • Refusal to treat an emergency medical condition
  • Failure to treat
  • Failure to order appropriate tests
  • Ignoring symptoms or not believing patient’s complaints
  • Medication error
  • Contaminated blood transfusion

If you have experienced long wait times or other emergency room mistreatment and were injured or sustained greater injuries as a result, contact Philadelphia emergency room malpractice attorney, Eric Weitz. Emergency rooms are meant to help those with serious illnesses and injuries. They are not meant to cause greater patient injuries and when they do, emergency room representatives should pay. Our medical malpractice experts will seek a recovery that fully and fairly compensates you for injuries caused by emergency room malpractice.



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