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How to minimize the risk of an emergency room error

When you visit a hospital emergency room for treatment, you expect to receive nothing but the best care. While the staff can only do so much in a short period, there's never an excuse for any mistake.

Here are three of the most common errors that occur in emergency rooms:

  • Misdiagnosis: Many serious ailments are often overlooked in an emergency room setting, such as heart attack, stroke, aneurysm and cancer. If a major ailment is misdiagnosed, it can result in additional damage to your body and even death.
  • Ignoring symptoms: If your medical team doesn't take your symptoms seriously, this is a sign that you need to get an immediate second opinion.
  • Medication errors: Don't say yes to every medication the staff wants to give you. Ask questions to ensure you understand what the medication is for, how it works and whether you really need it.

Here are some things you can do to minimize the risk of an emergency room error:

  • Keep a close watch on everything the staff is doing.
  • Select a hospital that is known to provide a high-quality emergency room experience.
  • Speak up if you think something is wrong or don't agree with the treatment being provided.
  • Ask about the experience and knowledge of the doctor who is treating you.

If you or a loved one was the victim of an emergency room error, don't wait around to receive follow-up care from a more knowledgeable doctor. Once you're stable, you can then learn more about the cause of the error and your legal rights moving forward.

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