Waiting times in Rhode Island emergency rooms vary greatly, with some of them being three to four times longer than the best ones, and many leaving people waiting an hour or more. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), this is an indication of overcrowding.

What, in particular, has concerned some is that Rhode Island Hospital takes in most of the traumatic, complex cases because it is technically a Level 1 Trauma Center and the only facility that is open 24 hours a day. However, last year, a jury awarded over $25 million to a couple for medical malpractice associated with the facility (which conceded that it had acted negligently). It was, by no means, the first mistake that the hospital has admitted to making, nor the first life significantly altered after mistakes were made.

 Delay That Can Result In Death

Having to wait an hour or more in an emergency room—especially the only facility that is qualified and/or open at the time to treat you or your loved one in a given state (Rhode Island)—can sometimes mean the difference between life and death; particularly for patients suffering from severe physical trauma, such as those who report pain in their chest, shortness of breath, respiratory issues, and other indications that something is very, very wrong and needs to be addressed right away.

In emergency rooms, a patient’s first interface is with a nurse, who does the first patient assessment and determines if they have a potentially life threatening emergency and need to be seen by a physician right away. If the nurse negligently determines that a patient is stable and does not need to see a physician immediately, the hospital could be responsible for any subsequent injuries, suffering, and potential death that the patient and his/her family suffers.

According to a Rhode Island Hospital doctor, the hospital itself could do more to improve efficiency and quality of care there; specifically, reducing avoidable hospital admissions so that those who need to be seen right away do not have to wait an hour or more. In the midst of dealing with too many patients—some of whom likely do not need to be under emergency care—this facility—as well as other emergency rooms—sometimes miss doing required exams, checking on patients, communication with other staff about patients, and seeing signs that some conditions are worsening under their own care. When mistakes like this happen, patients can suffer from traumatic injuries and even death.

 Have You Been The Victim Of Medical Malpractice?

Many emergency room errors occur when staff fail to recognize that someone needs treatment right away.  While many states limit the amount of damages that one can receive after being the victim of malpractice, there is no maximum amount in Rhode Island; that is left up to the jury.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed as a result of negligence in an emergency room—including a failure to diagnose or to be seen—the attorneys at Dana & Dana can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.