Paramedic Errors - Medical Negligence Lawyers
According to the World Health Organisation the highest incidence of medical negligence in the developed world occurs in Australia. If you have been injured by a healthcare professional including a doctor, dentist, nurse or technician and would like to speak to a medical negligence lawyer without further obligation, just use the helpline. A Paramedic Errors medical negligence lawyer who deals exclusively in personal injury claims will speak to you, giving free advice and information on how best to preserve your legal right to receive compensation as a result of injuries caused by medical negligence.
Our Paramedic Errors medical negligence lawyers have solicitors offices situated in Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Brisbane and Darwin.
Errors by Paramedics
Paramedics have perhaps one of the most difficult jobs in medicine. They face patients with no history to go on except perhaps the nature of the injury they sustained. They have no medication list unless they’re lucky, and they have no labs or x-ray in which to know what has happened to the patient. It’s as if they’re in the dark ages, when they have to put a fingernail on a patient’s nail in order to assess capillary flow. They must also look at a patient’s color, in order to assess anemia.
What’s more, they may have to do all of their assessment in a dark highway or in a moving vehicle. They must do their assessment as fast as possible so that they can quickly pass off their information to the emergency room staff. Such a situation is ripe for effort. Some possible errors a paramedic can make include the following :
- Failure to protect the neck in a fall or motor vehicle accident. This can lead to quadriplegia or paraplegia, depending on what part of the neck is involved.
- Failure to give oxygen to heart patients, shock patients or stroke patients.
- Failure to give aspirin to possible heart patients.
- Giving a medication the patient I known to be allergic to.
- Not starting an IV in a patient who suffers from shock or who needs IV access for patients.
- Giving the wrong dose of pain medication—such as an overdose of morphine.
- Signing off on a patient that later suffers a severe injury or dies.
- Failure to immobilize the spine in a spinal injury.
- Misdiagnosing a broken bone as being healthy.
- Not looking at the patient’s back for injuries.
- Failing to diagnose a puncture wound, in a patient who has a gunshot wound.
- Not giving a necessary medication, such as nitroglycerin for a heart patient or a patient with extremely high blood pressure.
The requirement of the job of a paramedic involves providing prompt and competent treatment to each and every patient, based on the information known to them at the time. Failing to do so means that hundreds to thousands of patients may die every year of iatrogenic injuries. Fortunately, most ambulance worker and paramedics do their job well and no adverse events occur as a result of their care. A few, however, make mistakes in the care of the patient and there can be a host of wrongful deaths and personal injuries.
Paramedics and ambulance staff are not trained as doctors so the performance of medical procedure is out of their list of things to do. They can’t meet the same standards as medical doctors and emergency medical staff. Paramedics operate on different levels and each has a different level of training. At the highest level are the paramedics, who are expected to perform a specific level of care :
- Assess a patient quickly and recognize when a severe medical emergency is present.
- Manage patient care in a competent manner, including knowing how to prioritize injuries and follow through with the right treatments.
- Provide ongoing monitoring of the patient’s vital signs and responsiveness to treatment.
- Communicate and keep record of the vital signs and other medical information to the emergency room either at the time the patient arrives or via radio communication.
- They need to get the patient to the emergency room as quickly as possible.
If the emergency transport team fails to transport a patient quickly, fails to communicate with doctors at the emergency room or fails to monitor vital signs are typical errors that paramedics can do. Delayed diagnosis or failing to diagnose an injury they are qualified to diagnose and giving the wrong medications can lead to malpractice.
A paramedic obviously is operating at a deficit because of the circumstances. Blood flow and oxygenation are things a paramedic must handle, along with immobilizing fractures, particularly spine fractures. Even with the deficits put upon them by circumstances, there are high expectations of their job.
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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here