When a person in Washington State finds themselves in need of emergent medical care, they should be able to go to the hospital and trust that they will be properly cared for. It is enough to be faced with a medical emergency, yet research and statistics show that patients must also be concerned about the quality of care that they will receive in an emergency department.
According to CBS News and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 10 million medical mistakes may be made in U.S. emergency rooms every year. This number comes from statistics that show more than 100 million visits are made to ERs annually and errors are noted in between five and 10 percent of all of these visits.
Becker’s Hospital Review indicates that many emergency room errors may be caused not by improper care delivered by an individual doctor or other health care professional but rather by a breakdown in some process or system. These include problems with the triage process when a person first arrives in the ER to failures in teamwork among staff within the emergency room as well as hospital-wide. In fact, a study published in BMC Emergency Medicine found that these types of mistakes may be twice as likely to lead to an error than those made by practitioners.
When it comes to ER errors, misdiagnosis and medication mistakes may often be prevalent. Another problem that can occur is when a provider does not seem to take a patient’s complaints or symptoms seriously.