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When a patient goes to the emergency room in Pittsburgh, doctors and nurses often try to gain a better understanding of the patient’s situation by asking questions. A triage nurse asks questions about the patient’s symptoms when he or she checks into the emergency room. When the patient is taken into an exam room, another nurse may ask the patient how he or she feels and ask about the event that caused the person to visit the emergency room.
Then, when the patient meets with the doctor, the doctor should review the information that has been collected by the nurses. The doctor should also take the time to ask clarifying questions. The anecdotal information patients provide is critical, and it can help connect the dots when medical information seems incomplete.
However, if doctors or nurses discredit the information provided by the patient, they are missing a crucial piece of the puzzle. A 14-year-old boy died because of just this kind of situation.
After a series of emergency room errors, a young boy died on an operating table hours after checking into the emergency room. When the boy checked in at the emergency room, he complained of sharp pain on the right side of his face and right shoulder, and he said his mother kicked him in the throat.
When nurses asked him to rate his pain on a scale of one to 10, he rated his pain level a 10. Regardless, the triage nurse said his case was “non-urgent.” Another nurse reported that there was no discoloration in the boy’s neck, only slight swelling, and that he was showing no visible pain or distress. Even after the boy vomited in front of the nurse, she did not report it to the attending physician.
But that was not the last of the gross negligence leading to the boy’s death. Read more in our upcoming posts to learn the series of mistakes the hospital staff made.
Source: Cliffview Pilot, “Court upholds $2.4 million malpractice award in death of Bergen boy kicked by mom,” Jerry Demarco, Nov. 17, 2011