Emergency room staff, from triage nurses to EMTs to physicians, are required to make critical judgments—quickly and accurately. The ability to provide on the spot care while remaining cool under pressure are indispensible traits of an effective emergency room doctor or nurse. Emergency room personnel understand that a delay, a misdiagnosis, or a failure to diagnose a life-threatening illness can have deadly results.


Misdiagnosis is the most common serious error that happens in the emergency room. People having heart attacks are sent home with instructions to take an antacid for indigestion, life-threatening meningitis is misdiagnosed as flu, a perforated ulcer patient is sent home with a diagnosis of routine gastroenteritis. Any of these errors in diagnosis could delay proper treatment enough to cause the person’s death.

Some other common types of ER medical mistakes are lab errors, medication errors, EMT errors, surgical errors, and contaminated blood transfusions.


Hospital emergency rooms should have procedures in place to ensure that patient histories are taken and recorded accurately; tests are performed and interpreted properly; patients are properly informed of their condition, the required treatment, where and how they should receive follow-up treatment, whether they need to see a specialist; and that  medication orders are processed and filled correctly. If these procedures exist but are ignored, or if the hospital simply doesn’t have procedures in place, this is an indication of possible negligence.


Doctors, nurses, EMTs, and all emergency room staff owe a duty of care to their patients, and if they violate their duty and fail to deliver the expected standard of care, they need to be held accountable for harm they cause. If you or someone you care about has been injured, sickened further, or killed by something a medical professional did improperly, or something that they failed to do, you may be able to receive monetary compensation for any losses that were caused by the malpractice.


Medical malpractice cases require the services of an experienced medical malpractice attorney. They can be difficult to prove, because you first must be able to prove that the healthcare provider made an error, and then, you have to show that the error was the cause of the injury, illness, or death of the patient.

In Seattle, Washington, the medical malpractice attorneys at Wattel and York understand the challenges of emergency room malpractice cases. We are able to call in medical experts who can analyze the records to determine if there is a connection between the medical error and the harm that it caused, and who can give expert testimony.

Every patient should be able to trust their health professionals to provide the standard of care for which they were trained. When they fail in this duty and cause injury, the victim has the right to compensation. At Wattel and York, we believe these negligent doctors, nurses, hospitals, and other healthcare providers must be held accountable for the harm they cause.

If you think you may have been the victim of emergency room malpractice, you need experience on your side. Call Washington medical malpractice attorneys Wattel and York today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you pay no legal fees unless we win you money.