Can having someone accompany you to an emergency department be helpful? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Missed diagnoses in the emergency department may happen to about one in 18 people, an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality study led by David Newman-Toker at Johns Hopkins has found. Can that risk be minimized by bringing someone with you to the ED? Newman-Toker comments.

Newman-Toker: I think it’s always helpful to have an advocate, for many reasons. Certainly when somebody’s feeling sick, they’re in the emergency department, they’re dizzy, they’re throwing up, or whatever the symptoms are, it’s very difficult to digest and to think through a lot of these problems outside of how you’re feeling. I think having somebody there as an advocate, to listen, do double checks, but I do think even if you don’t have another person there there are ways to address this issue. Just recording things on your mobile phone. Otherwise it’s easy to forget or to misremember what’s happening, especially in a chaotic context like the emergency department.  :32

Newman-Toker says you are free to record once you advise everyone in the room you are doing so. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.