Emergency rooms are a critical part of the healthcare system in Ohio. They offer a vital service to people who are in need of urgent care. However, emergency rooms can also be dangerous, and they are often the site of misdiagnosis. In fact, a recent government analysis found that healthcare facilities make over 7 million misdiagnoses each year, with 2.5 million people suffering from fatal or long-term injuries as a result.
Reasons misdiagnoses occur in the emergency rooms
Emergency rooms are hectic environments with highly pressurized and fast-paced situations. Since the patients’ lives are on the line, nurses, doctors and other medical staff need to make quick decisions; hence, taking the time to properly diagnose and treat a patient can be difficult.
In some cases, misdiagnosis is simply an unfortunate result of human error; medical staff may overlook details or miss important signs resulting in an incorrect diagnosis. In other cases, emergency rooms may not have access to proper diagnostic tools or up-to-date technology, which brings more guesswork to the diagnosis process.
Implications of an incorrect diagnosis
Misdiagnosis can have serious and lasting consequences for a patient, ranging from delayed or worsened symptoms to long-term health complications. In some cases, doctors can misdiagnose patients with illnesses that do not exist, leading to unnecessary treatments or medications which can cause further harm. In other cases, incorrect diagnoses can result in the administration of the wrong treatment, often resulting in more pain and suffering than was originally experienced by the patient.
What to do if misdiagnosed
If a doctor, nurse or other medical staff made an error in diagnosis and caused you harm, you may have legal recourse. You can file a medical malpractice claim against the at-fault party in civil court. You will need to prove that the medical professional was negligent in their diagnosis, resulting in a misdiagnosis that caused you harm. If successful, the court may award you compensation to cover medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Even though you might not know how the medical systems or processes work, there are a few steps you can take to lower your chances of becoming a victim. For instance, you can provide your medical histories (including any medications you take), be honest with your doctor about symptoms and family history and ask questions if something seems unclear or off.