Help Yourself Avoid Medical Malpractice Caused by ER Wait Times

CNN.com recently published an article on the Jeffers family and the medical malpractice that occurred during their visit to Methodist Hospital emergency room in Sacramento, California.

Malyia Jeffers Waited Too Long

The article tells the story of 2 year old Malayia Jeffers. When her fever spiked to 101 degrees and her parents noticed a bruise like spot on her cheek, Leah and Ryan Jeffers decided to take their daughter to the emergency room. A triage nurse working the ER looked at the Jeffers’ daughter and said she probably had a virus and a rash.

new jersey philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys malyia jeffersMalyia’s condition persistently worsened during the near 5 hours that she and her parents waited to be seen by a doctor. Finally, Ryan Jeffers bypassed the nurses station and pushed through the doors behind them. He approached a different nurse and asked her
Does this look like a rash?” She responded with “no” and gave the Jeffers a room immediately.

Malyia was eventually diagnosed with Group A Strep, otherwise known as the flesh-eating bacteria. She was transferred to an area hospital that specialized in pediatric care. Unfortunately, it had been too long, and in order to save her life, doctors had to amputate her left hand, a few fingers on her right hand, and both legs below the knee.

Emergency Room Wait Times a Serious Problem

A study performed in 2009 by the Government Accountability Office found that ER wait times are often more than double the medically recommended time. Press Ganey Associates research tells that in 2009, patients waited an average of six hours in the emergency room. Over 400,000 patients waited 24 hours or more. These wait times can prove permanently detrimental, and in some unfortunate cases, even fatal.

Tips to Avoid ER Wait Times

The CNN article also offered a few tips for readers to avoid long and potentially dangerous waits in the emergency room.

#1: Check for wait time posts. Many hospitals are beginning to post ER wait times on their website. You should check all of your area hospitals to inform yourself of the potential wait.

new jersey philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys ER wait times#2: Avoid High Traffic Periods. It seems that because patients try to avoid spending their whole weekend in the ER, Monday is the busiest emergency room day. If you start noticing symptoms on Saturday, don’t wait until Monday to see a doctor. The delay could end up causing much harm.

#3: Alert your primary care physician that you are going to the ER. Getting an opinion from your PCP that you then offer to the ER nurses could help and possibly expedite your care.

#4: Once you’ve arrived, don’t leave. If you thought you were sick enough to visit the ER, then you are sick enough to wait to be seen. You should be persistent. Not rude, but persistent.

#5: Alert ER personnel of any changes. If you notice changes in your condition, make sure to tell someone. That change might be the reason you require immediate attention.

#6: Ask for the Charge Nurse. If you believe your condition has worsened and the situation has become urgent, seek out the charge nurse or supervisor, and alert him/her that you believe your medical condition requires immediate evaluation.

Medical Malpractice Lawyers in NJ and PA

Medical malpractice occurs day in and day out in doctor’s offices and hospitals around the world. Many times it has nothing to do with a doctor’s abilities, but with the poor programs and policies their instutions have in place. It is important to take a firm role in your own medical care.

If you or a loved one have suffered due to medical malpractice or negligence, contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation. Our team is experienced and skilled in earning victims of medical negligence the full and fair compensation that they need and deserve.
You may also call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.

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