We are aware that our A&E departments are busy environments and they have to deal with every sort of medical condition and emergency situations. However, despite A&E departments being high pressure environments, patients should still receive the appropriate standard of care. When the level of care falls below the expected standard and it can be shown that this has resulted in additional injury then you are entitled to compensation.
Medical negligence can occur in A&E departments in several different sorts of situations. The main ways in which negligence can occur whilst a patient is receiving treatment in an A&E department are:
- Diagnosis Errors
- Treatment Errors
- Inexperienced medical professionals
When a patient attends an A&E department it is important that they are assessed correctly to enable the correct diagnosis to be made. Clinical negligence can occur when there are failures, delays or errors in making the right diagnosis. Crucial mistakes can occur when the medical professionals in A&E are taking details of the patient’s medical history which includes enquiring about your family medical history. Also, errors in diagnosis can occur when a full examination is not performed.
Further, the incorrect diagnosis can be made by the medical professionals if the appropriate investigations are not performed, such as x-rays, blood tests or scans. However, in some instances even when the correct investigations are performed negligence can occur when there is a failure to interpret the test results correctly such as when fractures are missed on x-rays. Also, for some patients the error in the medical professionals reaching the correct diagnosis can lead to them being sent home, which for some patients can lead to serious complications including death.
Treatment Errors in A&E
For some patients when they attend A&E the medical professionals identify the correct diagnosis as to the cause of their symptoms. However, there is a failure to treat this condition appropriately. Some examples of how this can occur is when a patient is given the incorrect treatment plan, such as the incorrect medication is prescribed for their condition, which may lead to their condition deteriorating, further, they may also experience side effects from the medication that has been prescribed in error. When a patient is in A&E the medical professionals should ensure that the patient’s vital signs are monitored such as blood pressure, temperature, etc.
If such observations are either missed, or there is a failure to identify a change in the vital signs, this can lead to the patient not receiving prompt treatment. In some situations the patient may require surgery to treat their condition, but this is not recognised, which can lead to the patient experiencing prolonged pain and suffering and in some situations their condition can deteriorate meaning they require more invasive treatment than they would have required had the correct treatment been instigated sooner.
Inexperienced Medical Professionals
We appreciate that everyone has to learn and that in order for medical professionals to train they have to gain hands on practical experience. However, such training must not come at the cost of the patient receiving appropriate treatment. Junior medical professionals should be supervised appropriately to ensure the treatment and care they are providing to patients is of an appropriate standard. Further junior staff should not be given responsibilities which they do not have appropriate knowledge or experience to undertake, especially in the high pressurized environment of an A&E department.
We are all aware that A&E departments are usually very busy especially if there has been a major incident. However, for some patients the delays in receiving prompt treatment can have devastating consequences. For many conditions receiving prompt treatment is essential. Injuries and illnesses must be diagnosed and treated reasonably quickly in order to give the best chance of recovery.
Delays in diagnosis or treatment are often causes of injuries or illnesses becoming worse and in some cases have caused preventable deaths. If the delays in your diagnosis or treatment were negligent you may be able to recover compensation for the pain, suffering and other loss caused to you as a result.
If you or a loved one believe you have experienced clinical negligence whilst receiving treatment at A&E department, please contact us today for a free no obligation chat with our clinical negligence solicitors.