Medical Malpractice > Emergency room errors


An emergency room staff’s job is to quickly and efficiently diagnose patients’ medical issues and either treat the problem or refer the patient to proper care and treatment. The initial assessment may involve admitting the patient to the hospital for observation, testing, and various procedures or calling in specialists to analyze their condition and direct proper ongoing care. When ER staff fail to make timely and accurate decisions, emergency room errors may occur.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), approximately 6% of emergency department patients receive an incorrect diagnosis, 2% suffer adverse effects, and 0.3% experience serious adverse events. That translates to one in 18 ER patients receiving an incorrect diagnosis, one in 50 suffering an adverse event, and one in 350 suffering permanent disability or death.

Emergency room errors can result in complex medical malpractice cases. With experience and expertise proving medical malpractice, our attorneys carefully examine the emergency room’s medical records and the results of tests or x-rays that were done. We consult with doctors who not only work in emergency rooms but who also teach emergency medicine resident physicians. If you believe your or a loved one has experienced medical malpractice from emergency room errors, contact our team today for a free case evaluation.

What is Emergency Room Negligence?

Medical negligence, including emergency room negligence, occurs when medical professionals fail to uphold the standard of care. If negligence occurs, and it causes injury, an entire medical facility may be held responsible.

Common Emergency Room Errors

In addition to misdiagnoses, common medical errors that occur in a hospital’s emergency department include the following:

  • Improper discharge. Sometimes patients are prematurely discharged from the emergency room without complete examination, all appropriate testing, or necessary additional treatment. A patient may be discharged from the emergency room when they should have been admitted to the hospital for care by a specialist instead.
  • Medication errors –  Medication mistakes may include prescribing the wrong dosage, administering incorrect medication or a dangerous combination of drugs, and failing to provide any medication.
  • Treatment errors – Treatment errors can occur when medical professionals treat the wrong patient or perform the wrong procedure.
  • Failure to correctly interpret imaging scans or tests – If an X-ray, MRI, or ultrasound is misread or misinterpreted, a patient is at high risk for further health complications caused by a misdiagnosis, improper treatment, or medication errors.
  • Delaying or denying treatments – Hospital emergency rooms can be hectic, with many patients requiring immediate life-saving attention. Emergency department staff are trained to judge the intensity of a patient’s pain or condition and will recognize when individuals need attention immediately—but mistakes occur. 

How to Sue for Emergency Room Errors

Possible defendants in an emergency room negligence case include the doctor providing treatment, the hospital entity itself, and any other medical staff member responsible for the patient’s care during their visit. 

To sue for improper treatment in an emergency room, patients must prove that mistreatment amounted to medical malpractice according to the law’s definition. Key elements to prove include the following:

  • You must prove that the doctors or medical professionals in question owed you a duty of care. The very existence of a doctor-patient relationship typically establishes this duty of care.
  • You will also need to demonstrate that the defendant violated that duty by failing to uphold the standard of care for their profession. The standard of care is the acceptable type and level of care that another doctor in the same specialty and setting would and should have provided. 
  • You and your medical malpractice attorneys need to show that you suffered injury and damages because of this failure.

The plaintiff bears a heavy burden of proof in any emergency room negligence lawsuit. However, highly experienced medical malpractice lawyers can help.

Contact an Emergency Room Negligence Lawyer at Montross Miller

Navigating the complex legal system to pursue justice can be a challenging, complicated experience. The Montross Miller team of experienced medical malpractice and hospital negligence lawyers can help. 

For more than 20 years, our attorneys have fought to ensure Indiana families receive financial recovery and peace of mind amid tragic circumstances. 

Montross Miller attorneys are very familiar with the complicated processes mandated by the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act and can be your guide each step of the way. Contact our team today with any questions or to schedule a free, confidential consultation. 


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