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Malpractice Risks in Emergency Medicine

An ED pulses with the randomness of the next encounter. From traumas to the tedium of another sore throat, the unbroken flow of familiar uncertainty is both rewarding
and risky.

Missed and delayed diagnoses are Emergency Medicine’s most pressing risk, the drivers of
which vary by ED practice setting and volume. The Benchmarking Report excerpts below
illustrate key vulnerabilities at each stage of a patient’s visit.


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ED Triage and Ongoing Assessment

About 85 percent of ED diagnosis-related malpractice claims cite an inadequate assessment.

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Tests and Consults in Emergency Medicine

In 39 percent of the ED diagnosis-related cases, a judgment error related to ordering a test or an image was noted. A mismanaged consult was a factor in 26 percent of cases.

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Synthesis and Diagnostic Decision Making in an ED

One out of every three ED malpractice cases has breakdowns in communication by the physicians, nurses, or both.

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The Risks of Premature Discharge from the ED

Allegations of premature discharge are common among patients involved in malpractice cases. Will you be surprised if the patient you just discharged returns tomorrow?

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