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Child Deaths In The Emergency Room

It is the nightmare of every parent – your child has a medical emergency and you take them to the emergency room. Even with proper care, the experience is scary. In this article, we discuss child deaths in the emergency room.

lack of emergency room preparedness and child deaths

The results of a multi-year study found that many hospitals and emergency rooms in the United States aren’t prepared to handle children’s medical emergencies. Many ERs lack the proper medical equipment for child-sized bodies and doctors aren’t trained to detect child-specific illnesses. This can lead to further harm, disabilities, and even death.

6-Year Study

A study of 6 years of data (2012-2017) from hospitals and emergency rooms in the United States found that many aren’t properly prepared to treat medical emergencies of child patients. In the 6 years of this study, 1,400 children’s deaths could have been prevented if the ER had pediatric care readiness standards in place.

Key Information

  • Children account for 30 million emergency room visits each year
  • 6-year study of data from hospitals sampled 800,000 children
  • More than 1,400 deaths could have been prevented with basic pediatric preparedness measures
  • Only 14% of hospitals and emergency rooms are certified as ready to treat children
  • Emergency health services prepared to treat children have significantly lower mortality rates
  • Children with emergency injuries have a 60% lower chance of death at a pediatric-prepared hospital
  • Children with a medical illness emergency have a 76% lower chance of death at a pediatric-prepared hospital

Critical Role Of The Emergency Room

In a medical emergency, the first emergency room a child visits plays a critical role in that child’s survival. Even if the child is transferred to a specialist hospital, the initial care received in the first ER plays an important part in the success or failure of treatment.

lawsuits related to emergency room misdiagnosis of child illness

When Treatment Causes Harm

There are times when emergency medical treatment or misdiagnosis causes harm. Preparedness saves lives in the emergency room. A lack of preparation or a lack of training can cause additional harm. Common factors that lead to additional harm in the emergency room:

  • delays in diagnosis
  • misdiagnosis
  • use of adult-sized medical equipment on children
  • medication dosage(s) intended for adults

Any of these factors can lead to or be the direct cause of further harm, death, or lifelong health complications.

Better Preparation Is Possible

It’s not all doom-and-gloom. The data in the 6-year study suggests, with a few simple improvements, emergency rooms can be better prepared to help children. Some hospitals and emergency rooms are working to improve.

child misdiagnosis, injury, and wrongful death attorney

When To Contact An Attorney

If your child experienced additional harm while seeking treatment at the emergency room or urgent care, talk to an attorney. An attorney at Kane & Silverman can help you understand your rights and options in a free medical malpractice consultation.