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While researching issues on a pending medical negligence action, I came across a study by THE DOCTORS COMPANY, describing the top four reasons (as described by patients) for claims made against emergency physicians.

The first and by far most common allegation is failure to diagnose, delay in diagnosis or mis-diagnosis of the underlying condition. The most common conditions leading to the medical emergency(s) were acute cerebral vascular accidents and myocardial infarctions (MI).

The second most common allegation of emergency medical negligence was improper management of treatment, such as failure to stabilize a fracture resulting in further damage. This is just one example.

The third allegation involved improper performance of the proposed treatment or procedure. This included issues involving intubation of the respiratory tract and poor suturing of a wound (just to name a few), causing additional harm.

Finally, the last category described giving rise to emergency medical claims is failure to order medication. It is difficult to imagine how this could occur, however, it appears to be a common claim.

Whether the emergency room is overcrowded, understaffed, subject to long wait periods, or non-communication, patients are entitled to the best medical care available, especially in emergency situations. The key seems to be communication with the physicians and staff and understanding the diagnosis, treatment and referrals. Patients know their condition(s) better than the physician, but should also listen carefully and follow the advice given. Don’t be afraid to speak up!

If you have a potential claim for medical neglect, whether emergency medicine related or any other medical specialty, the attorneys at Heiting & Irwin are available for an initial free consultation of your potential claim.

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