If you are in the midst of a medical emergency, you should go to the emergency room – but not the one at Akron City Hospital, according to nine Registered Nurses on the staff. In an interview with the Akron Beacon Journal, one on-staff RN said “I’m astonished by how much [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][the USACS physicians] don’t know about how to take care of patients. It’s mind-blowing.”
This is not a charge to be leveled lightly. Akron City Hospital has a Level 1 trauma emergency department. The American Trauma Society defines that as “a comprehensive regional resource… capable of providing total care for every aspect of injury – from prevention through rehabilitation.” Level 1 centers don’t rely on any other facilities or hospitals; they are capable of handling all manner of healthcare needs and emergencies in-house.
It is safe to assume, therefore, that if you are being treated at a Level 1 center, you should be met by skilled, trained doctors and nurses who can correctly diagnose and treat whatever illness or injury you have. But according to the nursing staff at Akron City Hospital, there is no guarantee of this when you enter their center; instead, there have been multiple errors made in the emergency room. The Beacon Journal reports:
“The nurses said they have witnessed and intervened when some of the new doctors delayed time-sensitive treatment for stroke patients, prescribed potentially fatal overdoses of common drugs like insulin and heart medication and misread EKGs, a medical test that can reveal whether someone is having a heart attack.”
What’s wrong with the doctors in the ER at Akron City Hospital?
This problem all started with a contract dispute. For forty years, a group of doctors (the Summa Emergency Associates) staffed the ER. In December, the negotiations between the SEA and Summa, the parent company of the hospital, failed. Summa chose to contract with US Acute Care Solutions (USACS) instead.
Since then, the nurses have seen increased delays in the diagnosis and treatment of stroke victims and heart attack sufferers, and a constant turn-over of the staff. Many of the ER doctors now serving Akron City Hospital come from out-of-state, and work for a few days at a time. There is no time to develop any kind of relationship with the patients, and many of the nurses claims they don’t know what happens to patients once they leave the nurses’ care.
It is also worth noting that “In February, a national accreditation board stripped Summa of its ability to train emergency medicine residents beginning July 1” (emphasis ours). Those who claim that the problems in the ER of Akron City Hospital are just the “normal” kinds of problems that accompany big changes will do well to remember that residents are the step between interns and physicians. Without proper training, they will be unprepared to work in an ER – and unable to be licensed to do so, either.
Yet because of the turn-over with attending physicians, it is these residents who are essentially running the ER at Akron City Hospital.
Delayed diagnosis is a type of medical malpractice
It only takes minutes for brain cells to start dying, leaving a patient with permanent brain damage. This is why accurate and swift diagnosis of conditions like stroke is critical to the process. Over the last few months, Akron City Hospital’s “door-to-needle” time has increased, on average, by nine minutes. That is a life-threatening amount of time for someone who has suffered a stroke. Being unable to diagnose a stroke, and/or taking too much time to treat a patient with the symptoms of a stroke, is medical malpractice. The Beacon Journal does not report whether or not anyone has died at Akron City Hospital as a result of the changeover this year, but the nurses are clearly afraid – enough so, that they are telling their own family members and friends to avoid the ER if they can.
At Crandall & Pera Law, we believe that every patient has the right to the best possible healthcare. We also believe that this story needs further investigation by an outside source, not just someone from Summa. If the Akron City Hospital really is in such tumult, patients’ lives could be at risk.
If you or a loved one has been injured at the Akron City Hospital, Crandall & Pera Law can help. Our Ohio medical malpractice attorneys have the experience, the skills and the resources you want on your side. To find out more about our services, or to schedule a consultation at one of our offices throughout Ohio, please call 877.686.8879, or fill out our contact form.