Have you ever wondered why one car accident victim may get transported to one hospital while another victim goes to a different one? Why one may be flown to a hospital and the other taken by ambulance?
This is because of medical triage, the process of sorting people based on their need for immediate medical treatment. A new medical study reveals that 34 percent of patients who suffer major trauma are undertriaged.
This is horrible news, because a mistake in triage can have a profound impact on a patient's ultimate prognosis - and may mean life or death.
According to the study authors, the Center for Pediatric Trauma Research and the Center for Injury Research and Policy, the most serious triage error occurs when an accident victim needs the expert care at a level I or level II trauma center, but ends up being treated at a level III center.
This is a common issue in states like Ohio, where large rural areas only have level III centers nearby. Triage decisions made by medical professionals in this environment can have an especially profound impact. The decision to call for a medical helicopter to take the patient to a level II or level I trauma center could determine survival.
The legal consequences of triage mistakes
In Ohio, it is difficult to sue emergency medical professionals for triage errors. Patients' rights have suffered from decades of medical malpractice reform, often leaving wronged patients or families without legal recourse after a devastating medical error.
If the triage mistake was especially negligent, there may be an opportunity to recover money damages from the hospital or medical transport company. Speak with an experienced Ohio personal injury attorney to discuss your specific case.