What Happens If You’re a Victim of Emergency Room Errors?

Emergency room errors occur in 5% to 10% of all emergency room visits, and this equates to 5 – 10 million mistakes annually in the United States. Some of these mistakes can lead to life-long complications, or the mistakes can be minor without much of a long-term impact experienced.

There are even “never events,” which happen in 1 out of every 12,000 procedures. These events include 29 events that should never happen, including performing the wrong surgery on the patient, performing surgery on the wrong body part or even leaving a foreign object inside the patient during surgery.

In either case, if you’re a victim of an emergency room error, you must know what you can do to be made whole again.

Emergency Rooms Have More Leeway

Emergency rooms are high-paced, and they are a very stressful environment for doctors. Time is not a luxury in the emergency room, allowing medical malpractice law to provide emergency room doctors with greater leeway to make errors.


Doctors don’t have the same time to diagnose and treat a patient. Many emergency room surgeries are a life-or-death matter, and the doctor will use his or her best judgment on the procedure to perform.

Patients can file and win a medical malpractice against a doctor, but the following criteria will need to be met:

  1. Doctor-patient relationships must exist, and the basis of surgery means that the relationship existed. Charts and records will verify this relationship. This basic criterion ensures that the doctor performed a procedure leading to an emergency room error. With all of the false claims that exist, determining if this relationship exists is very important.
  2. Negligence, or the quality of care, was below what a reasonably competent doctor would have done under the same circumstances.
  3. Harm must have occurred due to the negligence of the doctor. This means that the patient must have been harmed in such a way that it caused the person to experience pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, loss of the ability to enjoy life or even higher medical bills due to the treatment.

Negligence is what will normally decide a case, and there must have been a standard of care, or a level of competence, that the doctor must exhibit. Doctors, especially when they have to work in a fast-paced emergency room, can and do make errors.

But if the errors would have been made by a doctor of the same skill level and experience, the doctor may not have been negligent in his or her diagnosis.

Often, what occurs is that another doctor or a few doctors will be used for expert testimony, and this will be used to determine what reasonable form of treatment would have been carried out.

There’s a chance that the expert may find that the doctor operated reasonably, which would relieve the doctor from negligence claims.

A lawyer is the best person to determine whether or not you have a malpractice case.