As sick and injured people take fewer and fewer trips to the hospital emergency room, urgent care clinics in Arizona are becoming more heavily trafficked. In fact, a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in September 2018 found that “emergency department visits from 2008 to 2015 for low-acuity conditions dropped by 36%, while visits to non-emergent care facilities, such as urgent care centers or calls in to telemedicine services, grew by 140%.” That is an astounding number, but should not be surprising to anyone who has driven around Phoenix or Tucson lately. It seems that every strip center now has an urgent care clinic. The problem with this “convenience” is that the care provided at urgent care clinics is notoriously poor.
Most people do not realize that when they go to an urgent care, they typically are not seen by a doctor. Most often it is a nurse practitioner or a physician’s assistant who will provide treatment. On the few occasions that a physician is involved, it is usually not a doctor who is well credentialed. These staffing decisions are obviously made for monetary reasons: The cheaper the healthcare provider, the more profit the urgent care will make. Not only is it potentially dangerous to be treated by someone who lacks training and expertise, urgent care centers also do not have the necessary equipment to diagnose (or treat) serious problems. This leads to situations in which the nurse practitioner at the urgent care will misdiagnose the patient and send him or her home. With the serious, life-threatening condition going undiagnosed, the urgent care has now committed malpractice and sent an innocent person home to potentially die without proper medical care.
Just because urgent care clinics are opening up throughout Phoenix and Tucson does not mean that they are the appropriate place for treatment. Urgent care malpractice cases are also on the rise for this very reason. If you or a loved one has been misdiagnosed by a healthcare provider at an urgent care, please contact us today. We have the experience and expertise necessary to investigate the medical malpractice claim, and to hold the companies responsible.