Chances are, at some point throughout your life, you have heard the term triage. Whether you suffered a serious injury or a minor fall, with one visit to the emergency room, you have been triaged. The term triage means to assign a degree of urgency to patients based on the severity of their injury or illness. Many times in a hospital setting, a triage nurse will evaluate you and make recommendations to the treating physician as to the severity of your condition. While this process is meant to safely and effectively speed the care given to the seriously injured or ill, it does not always work. When triage fails, it may be time to speak to an attorney.
Originally, the concept of triage was created as a way to manage mass casualties during warfare. It was more effective to have physicians working on those that could be saved versus those that couldn’t. Now, in a time of modern medicine, triage is a way to prioritize patients so they all receive the care they need in an order that meets the severity of their illness or injury.
Unfortunately, the triage system of prioritizing patients is not foolproof, and just like other aspects of medicine, human error can play a significant role in patient care. After all, not all life-threatening conditions are immediately identifiable. For example, an impending heart attack may have a patient complaining of jaw or shoulder pain. Neither symptom is urgent and may be overlooked by a triage nurse. While this could be seen as an understandable mistake, triage nurses and healthcare providers are held to a higher standard of care and are expected to use their trained expertise to identify and treat serious conditions.
If you have suffered an injury or loss because of delayed medical care due to an error in triage, you may want to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. With their help, you may be able to receive the compensation you need to recover.