Are Emergency Rooms Sending Patients Home Too Early?

Monday, September 24th, 2018 by | Posted In: Hospital Negligence, Medical Malpractice
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It is no secret that physicians, nurses, and staff in a hospital’s emergency department can get extremely busy with patient care. It is no secret that physicians, nurses, and staff in a hospital’s emergency department can get extremely busy with patient care There are, however, times when emergency room staff overlook something in a medical chart or neglect to ask questions that are vital to care. A report by emergency department risk managers outlines areas of oversight.

  1. Poor risk factor analysis. Hospitals fail to ask family history questions of patients presenting with certain conditions, like chest pains.
  2. Up-to-date on shots? Failure of emergency room staff to verify a child’s immunization status.
  3. Following the pain path. Failure to document radiating pain is critical in ruling out and diagnosing the complaint, especially in chest and abdominal pain.
  4. Patients sent home with abnormal vital signs. Sixteen percent of patients sent home with at least one abnormal vital sign, were never re-evaluated.
  5. No pain medication. The report shows that for hundreds of patients that go to the emergency room with moderate to severe pain, less than 10% of them receive pain medication within 60 minutes of arrival.
  6. Re-evaluate. Failure to refer patients to a specialist for re-evaluation of their complaint.
  7. Poor discharge instructions. Discharge instructions should warn patients of how their injury/illness could affect others.
  8. Incomplete charts. It is the standard of care to run a work-up on the organ system for which the patient has a complaint. Documentation of the exam is missing from a large number of records.

If you or a loved one were permanently injured after an emergency room visit, see if you have a medical malpractice case.

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