Overcrowding in the Emergency Room: What you Need to Know

John Fisher
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Stopping Medical Injustice

Most patients who go to the emergency room receive the treatment they need without incident.  However, there are times the patient ends up waiting too long before seeing a medical professional and starting treatment.  When this occurs, the patient’s medical condition could deteriorate even further inside the emergency room because they do not receive timely treatment or because they are the victim of some other type of medical malpractice.

Overcrowding in emergency rooms can result from understaffing or a shortage of rooms.  An unexpected increase in the number of patients attempting to obtain treatment can lead to these situations.  For instances there may be a large number of uninsured patients who need treatment for minor issues or an uninsured patients condition may have deteriorated because of the lack of preventative medical treatment.  Emergency rooms may also lack the resources or equipment they need to deal with certain medical conditions, which also leads to an overcrowding.

Due to overcrowding, severely injured patients are given priority.  This means that medical personnel need to move quickly from one patient to another, potentially leading to a failure to diagnose the condition of a patient correctly.  In other cases, a patient who has a severe medical condition may not receive any treatment at all.  Some patients may die due to the lack of medical treatment.

The most typical issue associated with overcrowded emergency rooms is a long wait time.  Many patients may only suffer minor discomfort or elevated blood pressure because of the long wait time, however the medical conditions of other patients with more serious conditions may deteriorate.  Additionally, wait times may be even further prolonged because of the lack of available rooms for patients.  Even once they are admitted, patients may also have to wait even longer before a nurse can check on them or a doctor can provide treatment. 

When medical personnel are rushing from one patient to another there is an increased risk of medical negligence.  This may result in the failure to provide a patient with the proper diagnosis of their condition, incorrect medication, misinterpreting laboratory results, or misdiagnosis.  If the patient requires an emergency surgical procedure anesthesia or surgical errors may occur.

But what do you think?  I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected]  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com

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