Emergency Room Delay in Treating Asthma Attacks Creates Potentially Fatal Situation

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young woman having asthma attack clutching chestThe signs of an asthma attack that you can control at home and one that requires emergency room treatment are often the same. You start wheezing, coughing, and struggling to breathe. Yet, your inhaler and home asthma treatments aren’t doing what you expect them to do. You are not getting the relief that you need, and you head to the emergency room.

You are not alone. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, approximately 1.7 million people go to emergency rooms because of asthma each year. This makes asthma one of the top 20 reasons people seek emergency room care in the United States.

ER Treatment for Severe Asthma Attacks

When you get to the emergency room with signs of a potentially serious asthma attack, you should receive prompt attention. The first step will be to determine exactly what is happening to you. Very quickly, the emergency room medical team should do one or more of the following:

  • Measure how much oxygen is in your blood with a pulse oximetry test
  • Measure your peak flow to determine the rate you exhale
  • Measure your nitric oxide to determine bronchial tube inflammation
  • Measure your forced expiratory volume with a spirometry test
  • Make sure you get a chest x-ray

Once an asthma attack is confirmed, treatment should happen quickly. Depending on your unique circumstances, medical staff may administer:

  • Oxygen
  • Magnesium sulfate
  • Oral or intravenous corticosteroids
  • Ipratropium

Additionally, you may require intubation to help you breathe while the medications take effect.

Delay in ER Asthma Treatment Can Be Fatal

If the emergency room staff takes too long to act and your asthma attack continues untreated, the results can be catastrophic. You may experience respiratory failure which can be difficult to reverse. In severe cases, untreated asthma exacerbation can cause death. The emergency room has a duty to prevent this type of tragedy by:

  • Providing immediate care
  • Monitoring asthma patients closely to watch for signs that symptoms are worsening
  • Providing necessary treatment
  • Measuring lung function repeatedly

A delay in any of these steps may be fatal.

Protect Your Right to Fair Compensation After ER Malpractice

You trusted the emergency room to take care of you, or your loved one, during a medical emergency. However, that’s not what happened. Instead, you or your loved one experienced a delay in:

  • Being seen when you arrived at the emergency room
  • Medical tests being performed
  • Treatment being provided
  • Emergency room staff monitoring

Just one of these delays could result in respiratory failure or death.

If you suffered respiratory failure from an emergency room delay in care or if your loved one died because an emergency room failed to provide reasonably prompt care during an asthma attack, we encourage you to learn more about your legal rights.

You may have the right to recover financial compensation for the damages you experienced because of the emergency room’s negligence. Your compensation may include past and future:

  • Healthcare costs
  • Lost income
  • Physical pain
  • Emotional suffering
  • Out-of-pocket expenses and other damages caused by the emergency room’s negligence

The emergency room is extremely unlikely to admit any wrongdoing or to pay your damages unless you fight for your fair recovery.

Gray and White Law is here to fight for you. Our experienced delay-in-medical-treatment attorneys and staff nurse will review what happened in the emergency room. Then, if the emergency room delay was unreasonable and is determined to be the cause of your injury or your loved one’s death, our lawyers will fight hard to get you the recovery you deserve.

We will go to trial to make sure that you are fully compensated for what happened in the emergency room. To learn more about whether you have a case worth pursuing against a Kentucky emergency room, please contact Gray and White Law today by phone or through this website to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.

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