One who has been fortunate enough not to have to go an ER in Queens might only have the high-pressure images shared by TV shows to form an opinion on what such an environment is like. While popular media depictions are often dramatized, real world emergency departments can be quite hectic. The providers working in them may often feel pressured to diagnose and discharge people rapidly in order to accommodate heavy patient volumes. While some may be able to understand this to a certain extent, the need to provide quality care should always take priority over rapid treatment. When it does not, the results can be disastrous for patients.
A family in Minnesota was forced to experience this firsthand after they lost their mother to sepsis. The woman had been discharged just days earlier after having given birth to a baby son. She later returned to the hospital’s ER complaining of fever and nausea. The family claims that labs taken in the emergency department confirmed that she indeed was suffering from sepsis, but that an emergency nurse ignored them and instead sent her home. She died just hours later.
The family in this case was recently awarded more than $20 million due to the staff’s negligent action. Such an award cannot replace the void that this mother and others who perish under similar circumstances leave behind, yet it may help their families deal with many of the expenses that arise due to their deaths. It also may serve as a method of holding the providers who treated them responsible for their actions. Anyone wishing to initiate similar action may first want to meet with an attorney to discuss their options.
Source: US News & World Report “$20 Million Jury Award in Medical Malpractice Case” Aug. 29, 2017