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How can an emergency room visit lead to medical malpractice?

On Behalf of | Jul 21, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

Although most hospital emergency rooms in Illinois can be chaotic, patients can usually rely on them confidently to administer appropriate and urgent care. Unfortunately, a trip to an emergency room can worsen a patient’s condition if staff members fail to follow proper protocols.

These are emergency room circumstances that may justify medical malpractice claims.

Diagnostic errors

An emergency room physician who misdiagnoses or overlooks a severe medical condition can significantly impact a patient’s prognosis. An acute illness could lead to chronic health problems or life-threatening consequences without timely or adequate treatment.

Premature discharge

Emergency room physicians must observe patients sufficiently and confirm they are stable before discharging them. For example, patients who receive discharge papers before medical personnel ensure they have normal vital signs may experience devastating setbacks after leaving the emergency room.

Medication errors

The fast pace of an emergency room could cause medical personnel to make medication selection and dosage errors that endanger patients. An example may include a nurse working an excessively long shift who overlooks a note about a patient’s allergy to a medication before administering it.

Lack of follow up

Emergency room staff must provide proper patient updates for their replacements at shift changes. Failure to update patient charts with significant observations or concerns can result in inadvertent errors causing life-threatening outcomes.


Although many consider an emergency room a safe place to avoid damaging health consequences, patients can experience life-threatening infections when emergency room staff fail to disinfect medical equipment or sanitize blood supplies. The outcomes can be more harmful than the condition that sends someone to an emergency room.

A valid medical malpractice claim can lead to damages that help you start the road to recovery after you sustain preventable harm following an emergency room visit.