For serious medical emergencies, or even medical scares when you are unsure of what is happening, you can go to the emergency room for immediate care. However, even though the purpose of an emergency room is provide care when it is urgently needed, it is not uncommon for patients to experience further injury or harm in an emergency room.
Why Do ER Errors Happen in New Jersey?
One major element leading to substandard care in emergency rooms is the emergence of Physician’s Assistants (PA’s). As a cost cutting measure, many hospitals use PA’s to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients who in the past would have been seen by a physician. Originally, the idea was to use PA’s to perform routine tasks such as approaching a patient to elicit a detailed and accurate history, perform an appropriate physical examination, identify problems, record information, and interpret and present information to the supervising physician;
(2)suturing and caring for wounds including removing sutures and clips and changing dressings,
except for facial wounds, traumatic wounds requiring suturing in layers, and infected wounds;
(3)providing patient counseling services and patient education consistent with directions of the
(4)Assisting a physician in an inpatient setting by conducting patient rounds, recording patient progress
notes, determining and implementing therapeutic plans jointly with the supervising physician, and
compiling and recording pertinent narrative case summaries;
(5)assisting a physician in the delivery of services to patients requiring continuing care in a private
home, nursing home, extended care facility, or other setting, including the review and monitoring of
treatment and therapy plans; and
(6)referring patients to, and promoting their awareness of, health care facilities and other appropriate
agencies and resources in the community.
The problem our office has encountered on multiple cases is the use of PA’s to perform tasks beyond their expertise. In many hospitals, most patients in the Emergency Room are “ fast-tracked.” Often, fast tracked patients are seen only by a PA rather than a physician. The PA may then order testing, diagnose the patient’s problem, give injections, suture wounds, prescribe drugs and discharge the patient without the patient having ever seen a doctor. We have even encountered cases in which the patient is discharged from the emergency room by a PA who has not even consulted with a physician regarding the care of a patient.
Lapses in communication are also a huge factor that causes errors in the emergency room. In fact, a recent published study reveals that problems with information processing account for 45 percent of all emergency room errors. That is a fancy way of saying that miscommunication is a leading cause of error.
One example of miscommunication is the doctor not being aware of the symptoms or medical history you gave to another staff member.
Who is Responsible for Your Emergency Room Injuries?
If you were injured while under emergency room care in New Jersey, you are probably curious as to who is legally responsible for your error. From a legal standpoint, it will depend on your treatment, how it was administered, and the chain of command that was involved in your treatment. If a PA misdiagnoses a patient and then discharges the patient without consulting a physician, the PA’s supervising physician may be liable for the actions of the PA. Most hospitals do not operate the emergency room themselves. Most hospitals contract out the operation of the emergency room to private companies who supply the hospital with emergency room physicians and PA’s. Determining ultimate legal responsibility for an emergency room’s mistakes involves complicated legal issues. It will take a strong medical malpractice lawyer to thoroughly investigate your case and evaluate any potentially liable parties.
Medical Malpractice Attorneys Represent Injured ER Patients in NJ
If you suffered serious or permanent harm because of a medical error in an emergency room, you need the help of the New Jersey malpractice attorneys at Team Law. Out attorneys understand just how dangerous an emergency room can be for a patient. From a delay in diagnosing internal bleeding to medication errors , we handle the full gamut of medical malpractice litigation. We represent clients in Newark, Jersey City, East Orange, Elizabeth, New Brunswick and everywhere else in NJ. Call (732) 540-1394 or fill out the online contact form to find out what we can do for you today. Our main office is at 136 Central Ave, Clark, NJ 07066. We also have offices in West New York, Perth Amboy, Edison, Highland Park, Newark, New Brunswick, Orange, Plainfield, and Jersey City, NJ.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.