Emergency rooms of hospitals are intended to admit and treat emergency cases, such as victims of car crashes, falls, shooting incidents, heart attacks, and other serious signs and symptoms of the disease. According to a CDC report, there were 139 million emergency department visits in 2017, 40 million of which were related to injuries. About 14.5 million emergency department visits resulted in hospital admissions and 2 million of those were to critical care unit upon initial diagnosis.

Given this data, is misdiagnosis prevalent in emergency rooms? What can you do in case you or a loved one become a victim of emergency room misdiagnosis? Can you sue an emergency room for misdiagnosis? Continue reading below so you’ll be guided on what to do if you fall into emergency room misdiagnosis.

What Is Emergency Room Misdiagnosis?

Medical professionals are trained to find what is causing you to feel discomfort. This means that they can tell you what is going on, whether you are having a heart attack or asthma attack, for example. But there are cases wherein some doctors misdiagnose a medical condition.

A misdiagnosis is a form of medical malpractice, which is defined as an inaccurate diagnosis based on a medical condition. It is often the result of the failure to recognize that a disorder, illness, or condition has certain characteristics that a doctor failed to consider when diagnosing. When this happens, the doctor makes a wrong diagnosis. These wrong diagnoses can cause serious injury or even death to the patient.

So, what causes misdiagnosis? The cause of this misdiagnosis is that most doctors are not aware that there are several symptoms that may signal a different medical condition. Check the following examples of scenarios wherein emergency room misdiagnosis can occur:

  • Appendicitis which is thought to be ulcer or gastritis. The doctor failed to recommend emergency appendectomy or removal of the appendix, which resulted in burst or ruptured appendix, causing septicemia, or infection of the blood, and death.
  • Broken bone or fracture manually aligned by a doctor without extensive knowledge in orthopedics, which resulted in a more severe open fracture.
  • A doctor who used a newly discovered but unproven medical equipment, procedure, test, or drug that led to more serious complications or death of a patient due to misdiagnosis.
  • A patient was advised to continue treatment at home but resulted in worse manifestations of the disease.
  • A patient was prescribed with a medication not related to or ineffective in treating the disease.

Is Misdiagnosis Prevalent?

According to a trusted source, one in 20 American adults is misdiagnosed every year in outpatient clinics, which is about 12 million people. Given this data, healthcare professionals and organizations must create strategies or protocols to reduce this number to safeguard public health and safety.

What to Do When You Fall Victim to Emergency Room Misdiagnosis?

People usually visit emergency rooms because of serious or intense signs and symptoms, such as chest pains, broken bones, difficulty breathing, and hemorrhage. However, a misdiagnosis could result if a case is not properly handled, which could in turn result in complications and even death.

The most common question raised in cases of emergency room misdiagnosis is whether you can sue an emergency room or not, and the answer is that you most certainly can.

Here are the things you can do if you or a loved one becomes a victim of emergency room misdiagnosis:

  1. Contact A Medical Malpractice Lawyer As Soon As Possible

Before taking any action against the doctor or the hospital, you need to know your legal options first, and the best person who can guide you is someone who has the expertise and experience handling similar cases.

Like emergency cases, it is urgent to also call the services of firms like Baker & Gilchrist – medical malpractice lawyer if you suspect that you are a victim of emergency room diagnosis. Here’s how a medical malpractice attorney can help you:

  • Preserve All Pieces of Evidence Possible: Your lawyer can summon the court to preserve evidence relating to your case, obliging the healthcare facility to provide all of your medical records or documents.
  • Find Out the Party Responsible: Your attorney will help you ensure that the at-fault doctor or healthcare professional will not get away because of negligence and incapacity to perform duty.
  1. Get the Problem Resolved

Your health and safety must be prioritized, so you have to get any medical problem resolved by seeking a second opinion or going to another emergency room or hospital to get the appropriate medical treatment. With the help of your medical malpractice lawyer, you can tell the doctor what’s going on and you will be advised accordingly of the next steps to correct any medical problem caused by the misdiagnosis.


Misdiagnosis can happen in any healthcare facility, including emergency rooms. That is why it’s important to be alert and watch out for warning signs that there is something wrong from the start. However, this task poses a real challenge. Victims of emergency room misdiagnosis can talk to a medical malpractice lawyer to know their best legal option.


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