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What should ER doctors do to avoid medical errors?

The frenetic pace of the emergency department of busy hospitals can quickly form the perfect storm for medical errors to occur.A frequent cause of many malpractice claims is the doctor failing to diagnose potentially deadly but often readily treatable conditions like:

-- Pulmonary embolisms

-- Myocardial infarctions

-- Cerebrovascular accidents

-- Necrotizing fasciitis

-- Subarachnoid hemorrhages

-- Testicular torsion

-- Meningitis

-- Spinal epidural abscesses

-- Septicemia

-- Meningitis

-- Appendicitis

-- Broken bones

Improper treatment can also give rise to malpractice litigation. All of the following have resulted in medical malpractice claims against physicians and the facilities that employ them:

-- Overlooking telltale signs of an overdose during screening

-- Poor wound care that failed to detect a foreign body

-- Improperly intubating patients or placing chest tubes

-- Neglecting to secure a C-collar on a patient before they are moved and rendering them a paraplegic

-- Not responding promptly to changes in the mental status of a patient

-- Improperly managing a patient's electrolytes so that they wind up with osmotic demyelination syndrome

The majority of medical malpractice cases are attributed to a physician's failing to obtain all the clinical data available on their patient. It can take the form of skipping over critical information in the medical records that winds up with the patient receiving the wrong diagnosis or being discharged to die later at home.

If you lost a family member to a hospital's negligence or if you suffered a worsened medical condition because you were improperly diagnosed or treatment was delayed, you have legal options available to you to seek justice.

Source: KevinMD.com, "Tips to avoid medical errors in the emergency department," Roneet Lev, accessed Aug. 21, 2015

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