What Is Emergency Room Negligence? 

Emergency room (ER) negligence occurs when ER doctors, nurses, or staff fail to uphold the accepted standard of care, or the level of care one can reasonably expect when visiting the emergency room. This can lead to all types of errors, which may have devastating or even fatal consequences. 

Some examples of emergency room negligence and common ER errors include: 

  • Failure to recognize signs of a heart attack or stroke 
  • Misdiagnosis of a heart attack or stroke 
  • Failure to treat a heart attack or stroke 
  • Diagnostic errors, including delayed diagnosis 
  • Delayed treatment or failure to treat 
  • Ignoring or dismissing an ER patient’s symptoms
  • Testing mistakes or improper testing 
  • Failure to conduct or order proper diagnostic tests
  • Misreading or misanalysis of test results 
  • Improper triage/triage mistakes 
  • Medication mistakes, including administering the wrong medication
  • Failure to properly stabilize or transport a patient 
  • Improper monitoring of a patient 
  • Contamination, leading to infection or other complications
  • Wrong blood type used in a blood transfusion 
  • Administrative errors, such as missing paperwork
  • Procedural mistakes and poor communication 

These and other emergency room mistakes can have dire consequences for patients, many of whom need immediate medical care. 

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Failure to Diagnose or Treat a Heart Attack or Stroke 

One of the most common emergency room mistakes occurs when a person goes to the ER with symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, but the attending ER doctor, nurse, or staff member fails to properly diagnose or treat the condition. All too often, patients are sent home with an improper diagnosis—or no diagnosis at all—only to suffer serious or fatal effects of a heart attack or stroke once they arrive back home. 

While anyone can suffer from an ER doctor’s failure to diagnose a heart attack or stroke, this statistically affects women and people of color at the highest rates. 

One possible reason that women who are experiencing heart attacks or strokes are not properly diagnosed or treated in emergency rooms is because the signs of these conditions tend to be different in women than in men. ER doctors may not recognize that a female patient is, indeed, suffering a heart attack or stroke and, instead, may diagnose a similar or entirely different, less-serious condition, such as a panic attack or anxiety disorder. 

The Standard of Care in Emergency Rooms 

While all medical providers face certain occupational pressures, emergency room doctors, nurses, and staff are faced with far more serious situations much more frequently than other types of healthcare professionals. An ER staff’s first priority is to recognize the seriousness of the injury or illness presented to them and make instant “triage” decisions regarding which patients can wait and which require immediate treatment. This involves prompt testing, immediate analysis, and numerous quick decisions every single day on the job. 

As a result, ER personnel is held to a different standard of care than general practitioners, physicians, and other healthcare providers in differing circumstances. 

Generally speaking, the standard of care for ER doctors, nurses, and staff is more lenient. This does not mean that emergency room providers are excused when they make mistakes or deviate from the accepted standard of care. However, it does mean that it could be somewhat harder to prove an ER error case than another type of medical malpractice claim.

It is critical that you work with a medical malpractice attorney who has experience handling emergency room error claims. You need someone who understands the accepted standard of care for emergency rooms, as well as how to establish that this standard of care was not met. 

How We Investigate ER Error Claims 

In many cases of emergency room negligence, the injured patient or loved one of a deceased patient has a feeling that things weren’t being handled with enough urgency or that the doctor or nurse didn’t pay attention to what the patient or family members were saying. At Curtis & Co., we carefully investigate these claims to determine whether an ER doctor, nurse, or staff member made a critical error that resulted in the patient’s injury or death. 

Our Albuquerque emergency room error lawyers can gather medical records, reports, and other important evidence to investigate the circumstances of your emergency room visit. We also work with our in-house registered nurse and licensed physician to assess whether any medical provider failed to uphold the accepted standard of care. If we determine that your case warrants a claim for damages, we will explain the legal process and your best options for seeking compensation.

What to Do If You Believe You or a Loved One Suffered Due to an ER Error 

If you believe that your injury, worsened condition, health complication, or loved one’s death was the result of an emergency room error, we recommend that you reach out to an attorney right away. Make sure that you receive proper medical attention for your condition, if necessary. You should also keep copies of all your medical records and save any communication you have or had with doctors and other ER staff members, such as emails or messages. This can provide critical evidence of medical negligence and may be invaluable in your future case. 

If your loved one passed away after visiting an ER, and you believe something is not right, you may wish to consider requesting an autopsy. At Curtis & Co., we understand that this is an extremely personal and painful decision. However, in many cases, autopsies can be used to prove how the cause of death corresponds with inadequate or substandard medical care. 

Most importantly, you should seek the advice of a qualified and experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. At Curtis & Co., our Albuquerque ER negligence lawyers can review the details of your situation and provide more information regarding your legal rights and options. We have a solid reputation for integrity. We will not file a frivolous lawsuit or advise you to pursue damages if we are not confident you have a legitimate case of emergency room negligence. 

To learn more, or to schedule a complimentary consultation and case evaluation with a member of our legal team, call (505) 871-3740 or submit a secure contact form.

Curtis & Co. Curtis & Co.
You are passionate, persistent, and from everything that I saw today, a brilliant lawyer and orator.

What Sets Us Apart:

  • 25 Years of Experience
    Founding Attorney Lisa K. Curtis has pursued law since the young age of 6. This is all we've ever wanted to do, and we've done it well for decades.
  • Treating Clients Like Family
    We're a smaller firm so we can give our clients the focus and attention they deserve. You've been wronged, and we stop at nothing to make it right.
  • Compassionate, Capable Advocates
    We know how difficult it is not only to experience the injustice you did, but to be brave enough to move forward. We're here with you every single step of the way.
  • Committed to the Well-Being of New Mexico
    New Mexico is and always has been our home and chief priority. Our families go back centuries here, and we look to better this community with every move we make.

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