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Why do ER doctors get sued for medical malpractice?

by | Sep 15, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

No one ever wants to find themselves in an emergency room (ER). Many people who go there are in such dire straits that they can’t wait to see their primary care physician. Countless patients feel that they have no other choice but to be seen in an ER.

A recent study published by the medical malpractice insurer The Doctors Company highlighted how ER doctors tend to be on the receiving end of malpractice lawsuits more than other physicians. They recorded how often these doctors face lawsuits and some of the reasons why that’s the case.

Diagnostic issues are common

The insurance company analyzed malpractice claims filed against ER doctors between 2014 and 2019. The insurer determined that the overwhelming majority of the 326 cases filed during that period were associated with failures or delays in ordering diagnostic tests. The researchers discovered that the following factors often resulted in a significant percentage of delayed or missed diagnosis cases:

  • Ordering the wrong diagnostic tests: 53%
  • Consultation management issues: 33%
  • Continual assessment of patients: 32%

A previous study published by the same insurer back in 2015 highlighted how patients often attributed their delayed or misdiagnoses to their ER doctors’ failures to offer differential diagnoses and them not taking enough time to review their patients’ clinical information.

Other factors outlined in that earlier study included doctors’ failure to perform the proper procedures and ineffective treatment management. Claimants also often reported receiving incorrect treatments or medications for their conditions.

What can you do if an ER doctors’ actions harm you?

You expect to receive competent care when you go to the ER. While the doctors there often see so many patients with various ailments that it’s challenging for them to keep things straight, this isn’t a valid excuse for their negligence. Such a situation may warrant filing a malpractice claim.

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