Did you know that hospital Emergency Departments account for 37% – 55% of the malpractice cases filed against hospitals and that most of the claims based upon diagnostic errors? For example, did you know that 15% of patients with a median age of 38 who reported to the ER with stroke symptoms were misdiagnosed?

All of this information is contained in an article from the May 10 edition of the Wall Street Journal titled, “Hospitals Overhaul ERs to Reduce Mistakes.” Some of the more frequently misdiagnosed conditions include heart attack, appendicitis, meningitis, and pulmonary embolism. The main cause of these medical errors in the Emergency Room, according to the article, is poor communication between doctor and nurse!

It doesn’t take a “rocket scientist” to solve the lack of (or inadequate) communication between doctors and nurses in the ER. How about requiring the nurse assigned to the patient and the attending doctor discuss the patient’s complaints and tests results before discharging the patient home? If both doctor and nurse do not agree on either the diagnosis or decision to discharge the patient, then a second doctor must review the medical chart, examine the patient, and make the final decision.

What has your experience been in the Emergency Departments of the following hospitals in Virginia?

Alleghany Regional Hospital
Bath Community Hospital
Buchanan General Hospital
Carilion Bedford Memorial Hospital
Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital
Carilion Giles Memorial Hospital
Carilion New River Valley Hospital
Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital
Centra Lynchburg General Hospital
Centra Virginia Baptist Hospital
Danville Regional Medical Center
Dickenson Community Hospital
Johnston Memorial Hospital
Lewis-Gale Medical Center
Martinsville Memorial Hospital
Montgomery Regional Hospital
Norton Community Hospital
Page Memorial Hospital
Pioneer Community Hospital
Pulaski Community Hospital
Rockingham Memorial Hospital
Smyth County Community Hospital
Stonewall Jackson Hospital
Tazewell Community Hospital
Twin County Regional Healthcare
Wellmont Bristol Regional Hospital
Wellmont Lee Regional Medical Center
Wellmont Lonesome Pine Hospital
Wythe County Community Hospital

About the author

Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at dfrith@frithlawfirm.com.

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