Most patients receive prompt and effective medical diagnoses and care in our nation’s emergency rooms; however, there are concerns. The American College of Emergency Physicians report that treatment delays may occur because of…
- Triage, treating the most serious cases in priority order;
- Keeping a patient in an emergency area until a hospital bed becomes available;
- A shortage of on-call physicians;
- Local large scale epidemics or disasters.
A motorcyclist who was in a serious accident was airlifted to a medical center, where he began vomiting heavily. He died in the emergency room after physicians delayed ordering nurses to drain several liters of fluid from his stomach. A wrongful death attorney was able to demonstrate that the patient died because physicians failed to resolve a fatal stomach-fluid buildup in a timely manner. A jury awarded the family a significant award for their loss.