Negligent Diagnosis in Emergency Medical Treatment


It is often said that the first job of the emergency room physician is to decide who gets admitted to the hospital. This is by no means as easy as it sounds. Often working long hours in crowded and confusing conditions, ER doctors and nurses need to deal with an ever-changing variety of cases from bad colds and allergies to dog bites, strokes, heart attacks, drug overdoses or gunshot wounds.

Despite the time pressures and limitations of information that emergency room physicians work under, they are still responsible for their errors of judgment in diagnostic decisions, at least when the mistakes reflect violations of recognized standards of care applicable to the given clinical situation. The key to success in a lawsuit for damages is to show through expert medical testimony that errors committed in the emergency room violated recognized standards of care and caused the patient’s injuries or death.

ER Diagnostic and Treatment Errors

Examples of the kinds of mistakes that can occur in emergency medicine include:
• Failure to review the patient’s medical records
• Failure to order tests that could lead to a correct diagnosis
• Failure to eliminate such serious conditions as heart attack or stroke as possible diagnoses
• Unreasonable delays in treatment once a proper diagnosis is reached
• Use of the wrong anesthetic or medication for the patient
• Failure to give the patient complete or accurate follow-up instructions upon discharge

At McEldrew Law in Philadelphia, our experience with the investigation and proof of medical negligence in emergency diagnosis and treatment is demonstrated by our record of success on behalf of our clients. In one case, we settled emergency room malpractice claims for the insurance policy limits of $2 million when the patient was misdiagnosed with gastritis by an ER physician. After discharge, the patient died later that night of a massive heart attack.

Call 800-223-3352 in Philadelphia for a Free Consultation

Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney James McEldrew has nearly 30 years of trial experience in personal injury and wrongful death litigation. With access to an impressive network of medical experts well qualified to express professional opinions concerning the performance of emergency room doctors and nurses, he can investigate your claim for negligence damages and give you a specific idea of your legal options.

Contact McEldrew Law for a free consultation with a seasoned medical malpractice lawyer. You can find out more about our practice by visiting our website at

McEldrew Law – Philadelphia Personal Injury Blog