Malpractice and the emergency room: Medical Malpractice


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Malpractice and the emergency room: The ER has a particularly high rate of medical errors, and thus causes a relatively high rate of medical malpractice lawsuits. Two of the highest paying malpractice-related diseases in terms of total awards are heart attack (myocardial infarction) and appendicitis. In both of these cases, the typical allegation is misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis or mismanagement of medical tests, leading to a late diagnosis and to severe consequences, often death. The other three of the top five malpractice diseases, which are breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and lung cancer, are more common in general practice and involve slower-progressing diseases.

Related Medical Malpractice Statistics

  • Medical malpractice statistics for the ER:
    • 51.7% of ER-related malpractice lawsuits in a study involved misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis or failure to diagnose (Suing for Medical Malpractice, Sloan et al, 1993)
    • 30% of ER-related malpractice lawsuits in a study involved misdiagnosis (wrong diagnosis) (Suing for Medical Malpractice, Sloan et al, 1993)
    • 1.7% of ER-related malpractice lawsuits in a study involved delayed diagnosis (Suing for Medical Malpractice, Sloan et al, 1993)
    • 20% of ER-related malpractice lawsuits in a study involved failure to diagnose with no diagnosis (Suing for Medical Malpractice, Sloan et al, 1993)
    • 30% of the dollars for ER medical malpractice lawsuits involve heart attack (Suing for Medical Malpractice, Sloan et al, 1993)
  • Medical malpractice statistics for the USA 2003:
    • 112 (0.1%) emergency medical practitioners had a malpractice report made against them in the US 1990-2003 (2003 Annual Report, National Practitioner Data Bank, US DHHS)
    • 117 (0.034%) malpractice reports were made against emergency medical practitioners in the US 1990-2003 (2003 Annual Report, National Practitioner Data Bank, US DHHS)
    • Emergency medical practitioners had an average of 1.04 malpractice reports made against each of them in the US 1990-2003 (2003 Annual Report, National Practitioner Data Bank, US DHHS)

Medical Malpractice Information

Disclaimer on Medical-Legal Issues

Always seek professional legal advice from an attorney or other qualified legal professional about medical malpractice, wrongful death, personal injury, or any other legal issue. The medical/legal information provided here is of a general nature only, and is not a substitute for professional medical or legal advice.

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