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ER Doctors Are Failing to Diagnose Traumatic Brain Injuries

ER doctors are pushing a sickbed in Emergency Room

Despite today’s sophisticated medical technology and testing procedures, traumatic brain injuries are often misdiagnosed and mistreated in hospital emergency rooms.

When Head and Brain Injuries are Misdiagnosed

Medical professionals have a duty of care to protect their patients from harm. It’s well-known within the field of medicine that early diagnosis and proper treatment of an injury or illness provides better recovery and saves lives. However, many ER doctors are misdiagnosing traumatic brain injuries in patients and putting them at risk for serious health complications and death.

Typically, the hospital emergency room is the first stop for victims of head trauma and traumatic brain injury (TBI), yet many ER doctors are making inaccurate diagnoses despite state-of-the-art medical equipment. Medical research shows a routine failure to diagnose or properly treat TBI cases in hospital ERs. It’s estimated that up to 56% of mild TBI cases (concussions) are never noted in Emergency Department records. When victims are misdiagnosed, they often fail to seek essential follow-up medical care.

While mild brain injuries can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, and blurred vision, moderate to severe injuries often cause loss of consciousness, mental confusion, seizures, and coma. Illinois medical malpractice attorneys see high rates of severe symptoms in young children, young adults, and seniors over age 75. Studies show that men are more likely than women to sustain TBIs, and people who sustain previous concussions or TBIs are more likely to sustain future brain injuries.

In approximately 80% of cases, ER patients are discharged without thorough testing. Only 16% are admitted to the hospital for further tests and treatments. ER doctors usually focus on stabilizing their patients, so TBIs and other serious conditions are mistakenly overlooked. Approximately 30% of lawsuits handled by Illinois medical malpractice lawyers involve failure to diagnose or a misdiagnosis of a condition.

When ER doctors fail to properly diagnose or misdiagnose a health condition, and fail to administer proper treatment, the hospital can be held liable for damages through a medical malpractice lawsuit. Patients who are victims of negligent actions and/or medical malpractice in hospital emergency rooms may be awarded compensation for medical expenses, lost income, loss of earning capacity, rehabilitation expenses, and pain and suffering.

Doctors have a duty of care to their patients that includes thorough examinations, proper testing procedures, and proper follow-up care. The earlier an injury or illness is properly diagnosed and treated, the more likely the patient’s recovery will have a successful outcome.

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