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Why is proper emergency department triage important?

Seeking care in an emergency room isn’t something that most people do unless there’s something severely wrong. When you first get to the emergency department, a member of the medical team will likely evaluate your condition to determine how serious it is. This is especially important in busy hospitals so that patients get care based on their needs.

While triaging patients might seem like a good idea, especially when the department is overwhelmed with cases, there’s a chance that the triage process will miss something that necessitates immediate care. 

What can go wrong during triage?

Unfortunately, staff members who handle the intake of patients might be overworked. This can lead to errors during the triage process. Missing small clues that something is wrong can be catastrophic to patients. For example, a patient with pressure, but not severe pain, in the chest could be having a heart attack. Failing to get that patient admitted into the emergency room quickly could be catastrophic. 

In some cases, the issue that leads to patient harm has to do with the monitoring of people awaiting beds in the emergency department. Patients have died in the waiting area because of an error in triage made by a negligent staff member. 

What can you do if you or your loved one suffer harm?

Patients who suffer harm due to improper triage in the emergency room may opt to pursue a claim for compensation over medical neglect. While that may not fully resolve your losses, it can help provide some financial stability for your family.