While emergency rooms may have originally been designed for true emergency care that needs immediate medical attention, they have been increasingly overloaded with patients that have nowhere else to turn for medical assistance. Although most Chicago emergency room staff does their utmost to care for all their patients in a conscientious manner, patients can be overlooked or rushed through treatment due to high volumes of patients passing through their doors.
Regardless of the reason, all patients seeking medical help deserve a proper diagnosis and treatment. When this does not happen, there may be a case for an emergency room medical malpractice lawsuit. The Chicago emergency room negligence attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are committed to protecting your legal rights. Complete our online case intake form and we will reach out to you shortly for a free case review.
Over-Crowding In Emergency Rooms Resulting Patients Not Getting The Care They Need
The Center for Disease Controls reports that volumes have drastically increased in recent years. Between 1999 and 2009, it is estimated that emergency room visits have increased by 32%, from 102.8 million visits to 136.1 million visits. This increase is also thought to have affected the amount of time patients must wait to be seen. Just from 2003 to 2009, wait times for medical care increased 25% in ER’s.
The effect of overcrowding and extended wait times has also increased inpatient mortality rates. A study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine in December 2012 showed a 5% increase in the probability of death for patients visiting an emergency room on high volume days. In addition, hospital stays were longer for those patients with an overall cost of $17 million attributed to overcrowded ER visits of less than 1 million visits studied.
Less Attentive Care Than Patients Require
The largest concern is that patients are receiving less attentive care when they visit the ER and may not receive the treatment they need in a case of an emergency. When hospitals do not have adequate staff to handle the high volumes entering their emergency departments, mistakes can and do happen. Some common injuries that can occur in an ER can be caused by:
- Misdiagnosis. Tired or overworked staff may not take the time to correctly diagnose an ailment. A patient may not receive the treatment they need and may even be released with no treatment at all.
- Delayed treatment. A patient may digress while waiting for medical assistance, causing additional harm or even death.
- Inaccurate tests or medications. Rushed procedures in ordering tests or medications may lead to the wrong test or medicine being ordered.
- Protocol not followed. In some cases, a nurse or a doctor’s assistant may perform duties that they are not qualified to handle and make mistakes.
Injuries or wrongful deaths that happen due to poor care in the emergency room are not excusable due to high volumes. It is still considered negligence on the part of the hospital or medical facility.
Emergency Room Malpractice Awards
$4,250,000 Settlement; Emergency Room Malpractice; Cook County, Illinois
The controversy in this emergency room dispute involved a young boy. He was just two years old. One late night in October, he was running fever, coughing, and showing other signs of sickness. His parents took him to as Southside emergency room. The on-call doctors diagnosed him with croup and sent him home once his breathing stabilized. However, his problems returned just hours later. His parents once again brought him back to the emergency room. He did not make it long this time. He died just a few hours later. The parents of the boy brought a lawsuit against the hospital and treating staff. They alleged that the defendants negligently assessed and cared for their child. They sought compensation for their loss due to this wrongful death. The hospital did not publicly contest the matter. A private settlement was reached for $4.25 million.
$5,500,000 Settlement; Emergency Room Malpractice; Kankakee County, Illinois
The victim in this case was a young mother. She was just thirty years old at the time of these events. At the end of September in 2013, she delivered a baby. Then, a few weeks later, she began to experience chest pains. Also, her back and other parts of her body ached her as well. She rushed to the emergency room. Doctors and nurses quickly looked her over. They thought she might have had an embolism or cardiac problems. They urgently started to check for those issues. Yet, they did not look at her aorta. Not long after this oversight, she died of a hemothorax. Her aorta had been lacerated and the emergency room staff did not even catch that in their haste. Lawyers for the estate sued the emergency room staff and the facility itself. All parties sued for a reported $5.5 million.
$2,250,000 Settlement; Emergency Room Malpractice; Cook County, Illinois
Here, the parents of a one-week-old rushed their child to the emergency room. The kid would not eat. Also, he was showing signs of fatigues, fever, and other problems. The child stayed in the care of the emergency room staff for almost two days before they realized he had Herpes Simplex Virus with Acyclovir. That delay in diagnosis and treatment had fatal consequences. He died roughly one week later. His parents believed that had the ER staff acted promptly and appropriately, their child would still be alive today. They sued the providers and facility for wrongful death. They alleged that the defendants’ negligence was the sole and proximate cause of their baby’s death. The defendants did not litigate the matter in open court. They chose to settle and end the dispute. The family received $2.25 million.
$6,350,000 Settlement; Emergency Room Malpractice; Cook County, Illinois
This ER drama involved an older gentleman. He was seventy-two when he fell down a flight of stairs outside his apartment. Paramedics picked him up and delivered him to the emergency room. However, they did not board or collar him. Staff at the hospital intubated him and put him on sedatives. Yet, they did not collar him either until many hours went by. Doctors performed spinal surgery, but he still became paralyzed. He sued the ER and the city who delivered him to the hospital. His complaint stated that had either party secured his neck sooner, he would not have become a quadriplegic. Both parties denied this contention. They did not present evidence dismissing the allegation, however, because the case ended in settlement. The man received $6.35 million-$350,000 of that came from the city and the rest came from the ER facility.Award Winning Illinois Medical Malpractice Lawyers Handling Emergency Room Negligence
If you or a family member has been injured due to negligence in an Illinois emergency room, you have the right to pursue a medical malpractice case. As with any case involving medical negligence, it is important to have a law firm that is experienced in medical malpractice due to the complexity of these types of cases.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have extensive knowledge in handling Illinois medical malpractice cases involving negligent emergency room care. Our attorneys are considered experts in the field by many colleagues in the legal field. We invite you to discuss your Chicago emergency room malpractice case with us during a free consultation. Call today to schedule your appointment.