Daily Cross Checks Can Reduce ER Medical Errors

Posted in: Medical Malpractice | May 21,2018

When emergency room doctors have a system that allows them to cross-check their performances, it can lead to a reduction in medical errors, although not all types of errors.

Those results came from a randomized trial that was conducted in France and involved a total of six emergency departments. Physicians in each of these departments were made to participate in cross-checks three times a day. During these checks, the physicians were required to present their cases to each other, and get feedback on the same. The results found that during the cross-check period, the rate of medical errors dropped to approximately 6.4% of patients who visited the emergency room, compared to 10.7%, during the non-check period during which patients got the standard care without any physician feedback.

However, according to the researchers, even though the difference seems to be note-worthy, it is not statistically significant. Besides, there were other flaws in the trial. The nature of the trial did not make it possible to understand exactly what type of errors led to the adverse events that occurred. For instance, it was hard to determine based on the checks alone, whether misdiagnoses or failure to implement an appropriate plan for an accurate diagnosis resulted in an error. This meant failure to identify serious medical errors, like sepsis –associated errors which are some of the most serious errors that occur in the emergency room.

The trial focused on a total of 1680 patients. According to the researchers, the system of cross-checks does seem to lead to a significant reduction of medical errors in other medical fields, especially when one physician is relying on the feedback of another qualified physician. However, it seems much more difficult to get those same results translated in an emergency room setting, in which the variety of cases involved is vast.

Most days, emergency rooms around Indianapolis are busy hubs of activity. Errors do occur, and very often, when they do occur, they are the result of miscommunication among staff in the emergency room. That often leads to delayed diagnosis or a wrong diagnosis, which also leads to wrong treatment and possibly serious harm to a patient.

In fact, misdiagnoses are the most serious types of medical errors that occur in an emergency room. Conditions that are most commonly misdiagnosed in the ER can include heart attack and stroke.  In these cases, a wrong diagnosis and wrong treatment could actually prove fatal or have permanent consequences.

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as a result of ER malpractice or negligence, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim. Speak to an Indianapolis medical malpractice attorney at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy, LLP, and discuss whether you have grounds for a claim.