Managing the inflow of patients in a modern emergency room is a demanding task. Nurses and other medical professionals have to get very good at identifying those who need help quickly, those who can wait and those who won’t respond to treatment in order to prioritize who receives care first.
Modern triage practices have gone a long way toward optimizing the availability of care for people in true medical emergencies while also allowing for timely care for those with urgent but non-emergency medical needs, like broken bones.
Unfortunately, people making assumptions or applying previous experience to a current medical emergency could result in someone getting turned away from an emergency room or not getting care when they need it desperately due to a stroke, heart attack or similar medical emergency.
Triage is not infallible, and staff should listen to patient concerns
Different people present different symptoms and have different likelihoods of recovery from the same exact medical emergency. Just because some people having a heart attack can manage their discomfort and wait for treatment doesn’t mean everyone with heart attack symptoms can sit patiently in an emergency room waiting room. Nurses and other people working in emergency rooms should pay close attention to the symptoms that patients present and to the urgency with which they or their loved ones communicate the situation. When they fail to do so, tragedy can result.
When emergency room staff members ignore your concerns, downplay your symptoms or otherwise refuse to consider your condition when you arrived in an emergency room, you might have grounds for a medical malpractice claim against them if your prognosis worsens because you didn’t get care in a timely manner.