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The Dangers of the Hospital Emergency Room

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The Dangers of the Hospital Emergency Room

Jeff Cramer* was experiencing severe abdominal pain so he went to the emergency room of his local hospital. Blood work at the hospital demonstrated an abnormally high white blood count which is evidence of inflammation and infection. High doses of narcotics did not relieve the abdominal pain. An x-ray obstruction series was ordered. Several hours passed before all the testing was accomplished. The obstruction series showed a developing  partial bowel obstruction which is a potentially dangerous condition that can lead to loss of a bowel and even death. If treated in time, these outcomes can be avoided.

Since Jeff is in the hospital and has had the proper testing, he can expect a positive result. Right? Unfortunately, no doctors and nurses saw the results of the bowel obstruction x-ray. How could this happen in the hospital emergency room?

The x-ray was ordered by an emergency room doctor at 6:00 p.m., an hour before his shift ended. A few minutes after the x-ray was ordered the emergency room doctor admitted Mr. Cramer to the hospital, transferring  Jeff’s care to a doctor that was not currently at the hospital. The emergency room doctor left the hospital at the end of his shift before the results of the x-ray were reported.

No one in the Emergency Department saw the results of the x-ray and the doctor assigned to Mr. Cramer never came into the hospital nor did he call to find out the results of the x-ray. Jeff’s pain persisted and the admitting doctor continued to order pain medication rather than find out the cause of the pain.

These events happened on the weekend. Mr. Cramer slipped through the cracks of the transfer from the emergency room to the admitting doctor at the hospital. Mr. Cramer did not have the benefit of treatment for his bowel obstruction because no one found out the results of the x-ray and he was not seen by a doctor until the following day when it was too late to save his bowel but just in time to save his life.

Unfortunately, these kinds of scenarios are all too common today when hospitals are understaffed and examinations/treatments are rushed. This is not a mistake on the part of the hospital staff. This is negligence. Mr. Cramer’s life was changed forever because of the carelessness of the hospital  medical team.

If you or a loved one has been a victim of negligence by a health care professional(s), we can help. Please contact Andres & Berger in New Jersey today for a free initial consultation on your legal rights and options.

Keep in mind that the civil justice system holds doctors, hospitals and insurance companies accountable. It is this accountability that drives the development of patient safety systems that help prevent negligence before it occurs. Without the accountability enforced by the civil justice systems, patient safety will suffer and health care costs will go up for everyone.

*Name was changed of this Andres & Berger client

Kathryn N.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Mr. Andres is reliable, honest, driven, knowledgeable, compassionate and highly respected among colleagues and medical professionals. He stands by his word and can be trusted. He and Gail have fought for me during times when I wasn’t strong enough to fight for myself. The Andres & Berger law firm understands Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). Mr. Andres thank you for your support and guidance over the years. I consider you my fierce, tenacious attorney and dear friend.

Mike V.

Mike Berger of Andres & Berger handled my case over a six year period. He and the team examined every detail to get the best outcome. They were honest, candid and communicative throughout the whole process. It was a long ordeal but could not have been handled more professionally. I highly recommend.

Yadira R.

I just want to say thank you for what you have done for me and my family throughout the years. You made us feel like family, not just clients. You were always very detailed when it came to our cases and tried everything in your power to get us all the help we needed.

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Our family appreciated your unfailing attention to detail. There were last minute snags, we seldom worried that something would fall through the cracks, but you anticipated every contingency. Your firm demonstrated a veracity for the truth, a strong work ethic and overall impeccable character in dealing with our case.

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