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The 10 Most Common Emergency Room Errors

Published on October 19, 2015

When you visit an emergency room, you have the right to expect the same high standard of care that you would expect from any doctor or healthcare professional. You expect that the proper tests and imaging will be ordered, the proper medications administered, and the correct diagnosis made. Unfortunately, there is much discrepancy among hospital emergency departments in Arizona, as well as the rest of the United States. So how do you know which hospital in your area is best? Websites like can show the top-rated hospitals in your area. The good news is that the Phoenix-Prescott metropolitan area made the cut of the top ten U.S. cities with the lowest patient mortality rate for those admitted to the hospital through the emergency room. But even in the best hospitals, carelessness and negligence can occur. The most common emergency room mistakes include:

– Diagnostic errors: This accounts for an estimated 37 to 55 percent of all emergency room errors. This includes misjudging symptoms, delayed diagnosis, incorrect diagnosis, and wrongful diagnosis. This can lead to serious injury and in some cases, even death.

– Triage errors

– Failure to obtain a thorough medical history

– Overlooking essential information given when taking medical history (for example a drug allergy)

– Failing to order appropriate tests

– Misreading or misinterpreting of test findings

– Medication errors (i.e. wrong medication or dosage)

– Failure to notify patients of test findings

– Failure to provide follow-up instructions to patient

– Delayed treatment

The medical consumer reporting firm HealthGrades did a study of the nation’s emergency rooms and their patient outcomes. Based on the results of the study, HealthGrades determined that if every hospital emergency room performed up to the standards of those that received the Emergency Medicine Excellence designation, 170,856 more people might have survived during the two-year period of the study. The Emergency Center of Excellence™ is the first national designation to recognize emergency departments that offer superior care. Emergency departments are recognized based on their results of over 100 Key Performance Indicators, each linked to one or more of the Seven Pillars of Excellence. The Seven Pillars of Emergency Medicine Excellence include:

1.) Safety: pertains to overall care quality, patient outcomes, and team commitment to quality improvement.

2.) Satisfaction: relates to patient’s perception of excellent care, department reputation, and efforts to advance stature.

3.) Solvency: addresses current opportunities for fiscal improvement through optimal coding, test utilization and lean processes.

4.) Space: represents the functionality of the facility and equipment from both the clinical team and patient perspective.

5.) Staff: incorporates physicians and nurse credentials, team staffing levels and retention, and professional satisfaction.

6.) Support: involves relationships with administration and medical staff, adequacy of on-call coverage, and involvement in emergency department-wide committees.

7.) Systems: refer to work flow processes, care pathways, and technologic advances, especially in computerization.

If you or a loved one suffers serious injury due to an emergency room error, contact the experienced Arizona medical malpractice attorneys at Knapp & Roberts. These common emergency room mistakes can change your life. Our attorneys have a long track record of successfully representing patients who have been harmed by emergency room malpractice and the families of those who died wrongfully as the result of medical negligence.

Give Knapp & Roberts a call today at 480-991-7677 and a Phoenix emergency room errors lawyer will meet with you to perform a free analysis of your situation to determine if you have a viable claim for medical malpractice. Time to file a claim is limited by law so don’t delay; contact us today.

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The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona, at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.