Emergency Room Medical Malpractice; Kingston, New York Attorney Discusses


In yesterday’s post I briefly mentioned emergency medicine and today I realized I really haven’t added anything to my blog regarding this topic. So I decided to include some information on what is emergency medicine and quite possible one of the most common mistakes in the emergency room—failure to diagnosis appendicitis.

We all know that emergency rooms are the primary way seriously injured or ill patients enter hospitals. By definition, emergency medicine is a specialty of medicine which is concerned with the evaluation, immediate diagnosis, and treatment of trauma, injuries, or sudden illness. But did you know, the emergency room also functions as the office of a general practitioner or family physician? Especially in heavily populated areas such as cities, emergency rooms are a regular medical office for some people. Financially, this is not a good thing because it raises the cost of health care. Yet, it still occurs quite frequently.

Nonetheless, the emergency room is not really meant to treat most patients with a long-term plan, but just determine why the patient has gone to the hospital and how they can be stabilized. In fact, treatment really is not provided UNLESS there is an immediate threat to the patient’s life or limb. Although emergency room physicians are well-trained and usually very experienced, there are some reoccurring areas of medical malpractice that occurs.

One of the most common medical malpractice issues in emergency rooms is a failure to diagnose appendicitis. This is because A LOT of patients come into the emergency room with abdominal pain and most are routine issues (i.e. illness like food poisoning). Compounding this is the fact that appendicitis does not always have any tell-tale signs! Symptoms can even vary by age and gender. Additionally, appendicitis is like a ticking time bomb because if diagnosis and treatment is delayed, the appendix can rupture and cause a massive infection requiring a rather invasive surgery.

But all of these factors should NOT excuse a physician from picking up on these symptoms. Physicians are TRAINED to know these differences in symptoms. If the emergency room team does not act quickly enough within a reasonable amount of time which causes the patient pain, suffering, and a possible rupture, there will be liability. If the patient sits in the emergency room for a long time with the clear signs of appendicitis, and it results in serious injury (such as a rupture), than there might be liability on the emergency room staff and it is worth speaking with an attorney about it.

It is important to note that sometimes staff will perform an “exploratory laprascopy” to visually check on the status of the appendix to see if that is the cause of the patient’s pain. This is not medical malpractice in and of itself, unless the symptoms are clearly not there, the procedure itself is negligently performed, or if the appendix is actually the ailment and does need to come out.

But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! I welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at jfisher@fishermalpracticelaw.com . 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.