Emergency rooms serve as an entry point into a hospital. Those suffering from serious injuries or illnesses who need immediate care will go directly to the emergency room for processing and intake. The staff working in emergency departments in hospitals have to apply a process known triage when they decide who to treat and when.
In other words, in times of high demand, the staff working in an emergency room must gather information from prospective patients and make a determination about how they allocate resources. Mistakes made during that process could mean someone suffering a substantially worse prognosis or even dying because they didn’t receive adequate care.
Personal bias can often play a role in who receives care in an emergency
You might imagine that the nurses and physicians making judgment calls about who gets what treatment when in an emergency room do so based on the availability of equipment or drugs, the amount of staff available and both how severe the condition is and how likely the patient is to recover.
That is ideal, but unfortunately, many medical professionals allow their own biases to play into the decisions they make. From refusing to provide care for people who have an addiction or dismissing the serious complaints of younger patients to demonstrating a preference for one gender or race over others, there are many ways in which the biases of emergency room personnel can impact the care someone receives.
If you got turned away from an emergency room or if someone you love didn’t get timely care because staff didn’t listen to them or didn’t prioritize their reported symptoms, that could provide grounds for a medical malpractice claim.