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Why do emergency room errors occur?

Robert F. Spohrer

If you suffered harm in the care of emergency room (ER) doctors, you need to determine what went wrong.

If you can show that a hospital or medical staff had a duty of care toward you and they made a mistake, you may be able to claim compensation for medical negligence.

Emergency rooms operate in controlled chaos

ER wards cannot book their patients into slots. If a multiple vehicle pile-up happens on the highway, a hospital can go from quiet to full out in minutes. The medical staff has to make decisions about who to treat first. If you are not bleeding to death, you drop down the queue if others are.

If medics underestimate the seriousness of your condition, or if there are too many others with more serious or urgent situations, you may not get the attention you need in time.

Here are some other things that could contribute to the issues:

  • Staff shortages: Hospitals do not have enough staff. No workplace functions at its best when understaffed. Hospitals may give inexperienced workers more responsibility than they are ready for to cover the lack of experienced team members.
  • Burnout: Doctors, especially junior ones, work long hours to build up the experience needed. While working long hours on little sleep is excellent training for making decisions after working long hours on little sleep, it can lead to errors. When medics need to work overtime due to staff shortages, this exacerbates the problem.

Do any of these things excuse the harm you suffer in an emergency room? No. No one goes into the medical field expecting it to be easy, and doctors need to take responsibility for their actions.