Overcrowded emergency rooms are a major problem in hospitals. Doctors and nurses rush from one patient to another, potentially leading to misdiagnosis of a medical condition and/or the condition worsening. The wait time in an emergency room is one of the most prevalent problems. Many emergency rooms use triage to make initial diagnosis and determine which patients need to be seen first. Triage personnel are not doctors, but they are nurses, and these nurses do sometimes misdiagnose a patient who is seriously injured.
After a patient first enters an emergency room that is overcrowded, that patient will often have to wait many hours before seeing a nurse. Once they see the nurse, he or she may then be sent back to the emergency room to wait for a room to become available for them to be treated. After that the patient will then have to wait for a doctor. If this patient is experiencing a serious medical problem that requires immediate medical attention, the time spent waiting can cause the medical problem to become something even more serious.
Doctors, nurses, and medical personnel in crowded emergency rooms need to move from patient to patient rapidly so they can keep up with the demands on their time. This leads to stressed and to a mentally and physically tired medical staff, increasing the chances that medical negligence will occur. Doctors and nurses who are in a hurry may misdiagnose the medical condition of a patient, fail to diagnose the condition, prescribe the patient the wrong medication, administer the wrong medication, or injure the patient during an operation.
Examples of emergency room malpractice due to overcrowding include:
- Patient left to wait while their condition becomes worse.
- Doctors or nurses causing medical errors.
- Misjudging symptoms.
- Delayed diagnosis.
- Failure to diagnose the medical condition.
- Misdiagnosis of the condition.
- Incorrectly reading test results.
- Unsanitary conditions.
- Medication errors.
- Surgical errors.
An overcrowded emergency room puts the department in a difficult position. However, it is still unacceptable for a patient to be misdiagnosed, or harmed due to the failure of medical professionals to follow the procedures of the hospital.
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