Emergency Room Errors

Emergency room errors can prevent patients from getting the critical care they need and may tragically lead to death in some cases. In fast-paced ER departments, medical professionals may misdiagnose a patient or fail to provide proper treatment. See if you can work with a top lawyer to pursue compensation and justice for emergency room malpractice.

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By filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, you can pursue financial compensation and justice from those who caused you or a loved one harm.

Results Secured

  • $5 million on behalf of a Massachusetts family whose child suffered brain damage during delivery
  • $3.25 million for a patient who received a delayed lung cancer diagnosis
  • $2 million for the family of a woman who passed away due to medical malpractice
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ER Errors & Emergency Room Medical Malpractice

In emergency rooms, every second counts, and ER staff often face the challenge of making split-second decisions to save lives. In this high-pressure environment, preventable medical mistakes can occur.

Each year in the United States, 7.4 million ER patients are misdiagnosed, resulting in 2.6 million experiencing preventable harm, and 370,000 suffering permanent disability or wrongful death, according to a 2023 report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

When emergency room doctors and nurses make a mistake that injures a patient, it may be considered medical malpractice or negligence.

Proving Emergency Room Negligence Cases

To establish emergency room negligence, you must show:

  • Your health care provider failed to provide the level of care expected
  • Their error was preventable
  • The negligence caused you harm

Experienced emergency room error lawyers can help patients prove medical malpractice and pursue compensation from negligent health care providers.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of emergency room errors, you may be entitled to compensation to help cover your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.

LawFirm.com works with top medical malpractice lawyers who have secured over $9.3 billion for victims of injustice in all 50 states. See if they may be able to help you pursue the justice you deserve during a free case review.

8 Common Emergency Room Errors

While there are many different types of emergency room errors, some occur more frequently than others.

Find out more about eight common emergency room medical errors.

1. Delayed Treatment

When medical professionals fail to provide a patient with timely treatment, the results can be catastrophic. This is especially true in an ER, where a patient’s health condition is often a medical emergency and a matter of life and death.

Delayed treatment may involve waiting a long time for medication, lab testing, and more. Delays of any type of care can exacerbate illnesses, worsen patient outcomes, and, in some scenarios, lead to fatalities.

When a delay could have been prevented, it may be considered emergency room malpractice.

2. Diagnostic Errors

According to the AHRQ study, about 1 in 18 emergency room patients are misdiagnosed. A patient who receives an incorrect diagnosis may not get treated for a life-threatening medical condition or may receive the wrong treatment, which can lead to further harm.

Examples of diagnostic errors include:

In many cases, patients may not learn about a diagnostic error until it’s too late. For example, if a medical professional fails to detect cancer at an early stage, the illness may advance to the point where a patient is unable to get life-extending treatment.

Did you know?

In March 2023, a Massachusetts jury awarded a man $20 million in an emergency room malpractice case. Emergency room staff had misdiagnosed his blood clot as sciatica, leading to the amputation of his leg.

3. Medication Mistakes

Medication errors happen when doctors or nurses prescribe or administer the wrong medication, fail to provide necessary medication, or prescribe an incorrect dosage.

Between 7,000 to 9,000 Americans die each year due to medication errors, and many others suffer adverse reactions or complications. While the elderly are especially vulnerable, all patients may suffer physical or psychological injury from a medication mistake.

Common reasons for drug errors include:

  • Confusion over medications with similar names or packaging
  • Dosing errors
  • Failure to communicate drug orders
  • Illegible handwriting
  • Wrong drug chosen from a computer menu

Drug errors may be caused by human error or faulty systems that lack a safety net to catch mistakes.

Call our case managers at (888) 726-9160 to find out about your legal options for a drug mistake or other emergency room errors.

4. Oxygen Administration

Oxygen administration is a fundamental aspect of emergency care. Medical professionals should know when to administer oxygen and how much oxygen a patient should get to avoid emergency room errors.

Whether it’s providing too much or too little oxygen, improper administration can compromise patient safety. For example, too much oxygen can slow a patient’s breathing and heart rate to a dangerous level and lead to oxygen poisoning, lung damage, and even death in severe cases.

On the other hand, lack of oxygen can cause brain damage. When this occurs during childbirth, it may be considered a birth injury.

A breathing machine (ventilator) in a hospital may provide levels of oxygen that are too high, leading to serious injury.

5. Improper Discharge

Emergency rooms are often understaffed, underfunded, and overcrowded. For these reasons, hospital administrators may be looking to free up space and take pressure off of doctors and nurses by prematurely discharging patients.

Early discharge can result in patients being sent home without:

  • An accurate diagnosis or test results
  • Necessary medical care
  • Proper information for at-home treatment

Further, emergency care doesn’t end with discharge. Proper follow-up care is vital to a patient’s continued health and well-being. Failure to check for post-surgery infections or prescribe essential medications can result in serious harm.

Premature discharge may be considered emergency room medical malpractice, warranting compensation for the injured patient.

6. Surgical Errors

​​Emergency room surgeons are trained to operate quickly under intense and chaotic conditions. When surgeons make mistakes, the consequences can be devastating.

Examples of emergency room surgery errors include:

  • Anesthesia errors
  • Delayed surgeries
  • Leaving sponges or other medical equipment inside the body
  • Wrong-site surgeries

The family of a man who passed away after receiving the wrong kind of anesthetic prior to emergency surgery secured a $3.6 million settlement from a New York hospital and several doctors.

Surgeons who are incompetent, fatigued, and unprepared present an extreme danger to patients and should be held accountable for emergency room errors to prevent injuries from happening to other patients.

7. Transfusion Errors

Patients experiencing a health crisis may need blood transfusions. Mistakes in this process, which require critical attention and care, can lead to severe complications.

Administration errors, improper blood type matching, and medical equipment issues can all result in transfusion errors, causing permanent harm to patients.

Regardless of the specific type of mistake, an emergency room error lawyer can advocate on behalf of injured patients and their families and fight for the compensation they deserve.

8. Unsanitary Conditions

When emergency rooms are dirty or ER staff fail to properly clean medical equipment, the results can be tragic. Dirty facilities and medical tools can lead to life-threatening infections like sepsis (a blood infection) or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Get a free case review now to see if you can work with a top emergency room errors lawyer in our network to pursue compensation and justice.

What Causes Medical Errors in the Emergency Room?

Hospital emergency room errors can stem from various factors, often related to the high-pressure, fast-paced environment of emergency departments.

Some causes of emergency room errors include:

  • Communication breakdowns may lead to errors in diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care.
  • Inadequate training or lack of experience in certain areas of medicine may increase the likelihood of errors during critical moments.
  • Limited resources, like medical supplies, equipment, and support staff, can hinder the effectiveness of emergency care.
  • Overcrowded emergency rooms may result in rushed decisions, inadequate examinations, and potential errors in diagnosis and treatment.
  • Stress and burnout of emergency room professionals can impair judgment and increase the likelihood of oversights and emergency room errors.
  • Technical malfunctions, misinterpretation of results, or lack of familiarity with equipment can contribute to diagnostic errors and treatment mistakes.
  • Time constraints that require medical professionals to make rapid, critical decisions may lead to oversights, missed details, or inadequate consideration of all options.
  • Understaffing or inadequate staffing levels can strain ERs, requiring health care professionals to handle a high volume of cases. This often contributes to fatigue, increased stress, and a higher likelihood of errors.

Despite these issues, emergency rooms have a duty to provide a certain standard of care to the patients who show up at their door in need of help. When this standard of care is not met, the facility and its staff may be held accountable for emergency room medical malpractice.

How to File an Emergency Room Errors Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

While all emergency room error lawsuits are not the same, most follow similar steps. An experienced emergency room error attorney can handle all aspects of the legal process for you, so you can focus on your health.

Learn more about how to file an emergency room medical malpractice lawsuit below.

  1. Get a free case review: Emergency room error lawyers provide free case reviews, so patients can find out if they may have a case without taking on any financial risk. Get a free case review now to see if you may be eligible.
  2. Gather evidence: Your attorney and their legal team will collect evidence to establish that emergency room medical malpractice played a role in your injuries. This evidence may include your medical records, expert witness testimony, and the hospital’s practices and procedures.
  3. File the lawsuit: Your personal injury lawyer will file a lawsuit for emergency room error on your behalf, naming all potentially responsible parties, like the hospital and your doctor. They will ensure your lawsuit is filed before any legal deadlines.
  4. Negotiate a settlement: Most medical malpractice claims are resolved through out-of-court settlements. Your legal team will fight to get you enough compensation to pay for your past and future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

If a settlement is unable to be reached, your legal team will argue your case in court and fight for maximum compensation.

When a loved one has passed away due to emergency room errors, their family may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit for wrongful death.

Get Help From an Emergency Room Malpractice Lawyer

Health care providers practicing emergency medicine have a duty to provide patients with high-quality care, regardless of how busy or understaffed they may be.

If an emergency room error caused you or a loved one harm, you may be able to take legal action to hold negligent medical providers accountable and seek compensation to help pay for medical bills and other expenses.

The emergency room malpractice lawyers that LawFirm.com works with are fierce advocates for victims of injustice and have secured over $9.3 billion for families nationwide.

Our legal partners never charge any upfront fees and can help victims in all 50 states.

Don’t delay: Call our case managers at (888) 726-9160 right now or fill out our form to take the first step toward the justice and compensation that you deserve.

Medical Malpractice Emergency Room Errors FAQs

What is an emergency room error?

Emergency room errors are mistakes made by a hospital or medical staff when providing care to a patient. Common types of errors in the emergency room include failing to properly diagnose a health condition, medication mistakes, and surgical errors.

Injured patients and their loved ones may be able to take legal action when an error qualifies as emergency room malpractice.

What to do if a hospital makes a mistake?

If you believe a hospital has made a mistake that has caused you harm, get medical care right away for your injury.

Next, reach out to a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. They can explain your legal options and pursue compensation on your behalf if you have a case.

How often do ER doctors misdiagnose?

U.S. emergency room doctors misdiagnose about 7.4 million patients each year, according to a 2023 study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Of those patients, 2.6 million experience preventable harm, and 370,000 suffer permanent disability or death.

What are the top five conditions misdiagnosed in the ER?

The 5 most frequently misdiagnosed ER conditions are:

  1. Stroke
  2. Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
  3. Aortic aneurysm/dissection (bulge in aorta)
  4. Spinal cord compression/injury
  5. Venous thromboembolism (blood clot in vein)

These health conditions make up 39% of all emergency room misdiagnosis events, according to a 2023 report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Can you sue an emergency room for misdiagnosis?

Yes, you may be able to sue an emergency room for a misdiagnosis if:

  • The emergency room acted differently than other qualified ER staff would have
  • The resulting ER misdiagnosis was caused by negligence
  • You ended up suffering an injury

Additionally, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit if a loved one passed away as a result of emergency room misdiagnosis.

An emergency room errors law firm can fight for compensation on your behalf if you have a case.

Get a free case review now to see if you can work with a top law firm in our network to get the compensation you deserve.

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  1. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. (2023, August 14). “Diagnostic Errors in the Emergency Department: A Systematic Review.” Retrieved March 5, 2024, from https://effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/products/diagnostic-errors-emergency-updated/research
  2. Becker’s Hospital Review. (2023, March 28). “$20M verdict awarded to man who lost leg after hospital error.” Retrieved March 5, 2024, from https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/legal-regulatory-issues/20m-verdict-awarded-to-man-who-lost-leg-after-hospital-error.html
  3. Rodziewicz TL, Houseman B, Hipskind JE. (2023, May 2) “Medical Error Reduction and Prevention.” Retrieved March 5, 2024, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499956/
  4. Tariq RA, Vashisht R, Sinha A, et al. (2023, May 2). “Medication Dispensing Errors and Prevention.” Retrieved March 5, 2024, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519065/
  5. Sokolove Law. (2024, February 21). “Emergency Room Malpractice Errors.” Retrieved March 5, 2024, from https://www.sokolovelaw.com/personal-injury/medical-malpractice/emergency-room-errors/
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