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BY: Kenneth T. Watkins | IN: Medical Malpractice
Hospital emergency rooms are often the first option for those needing immediate medical attention. But the nation’s ERs are also increasingly the first line of defense against the ravages of our nation’s opioid epidemic. More and more people are arriving at hospitals in the throes of an opioid overdose or presenting with other conditions caused or exacerbated by their abuse of these powerful drugs.
As a result, ER physicians, nurses, and staffs are facing new and overwhelming demands in an environment which is already full of overwhelming challenges – creating an increased risk of emergency room negligence.
In 2016, nearly 64,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, two-thirds of them from opioid overdoses. A March 2018 report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contains some startling statistics about how the opioid crisis is impacting the nation’s emergency rooms:
The increasing number of patients arriving in ERs with opioid-related problems, including overdoses, presents ER physicians with a host of issues that they may not have the time or resources to address properly. This can pose serious risks to patients – and to the doctors, nurses, and other staff treating them. These are on top of the inherent risks of overdose deaths or nonfatal opioid-related conditions and complications.
These challenges include:
While the opioid epidemic is changing emergency room care, one thing that doesn’t change is the duty of hospitals to staff emergency rooms with qualified physicians and personnel to handle patient traffic. Regardless of any extenuating circumstances, overcrowding, or understaffing, ER personnel must comply with standard health and safety protocols and procedures to ensure that the medical care they provide is both safe and effective.
When patients suffer because doctors and other emergency room health care professionals breach the standard of care, the medical malpractice attorneys at Sommers Schwartz stand ready to hold them accountable.
Please contact us today for a free consultation to review your case.
View all posts byKenneth T. Watkins
Kenneth T. Watkins is an accomplished trial attorney and Senior Shareholder with Sommers Schwartz. Over the course of his career, he has obtained numerous multimillion-dollar settlements. His achievements include one of the largest seven-digit medical malpractice cases in Macomb County in 2008, and his election to membership in the exclusive Million Dollar Verdict Club.