What You Can Do After Youve Been Misdiagnosed at the ER


Were you recently at the emergency room because of serious or acute symptoms, only to find that the diagnosis was completely wrong?

There are only a few, but extremely serious consequences of a misdiagnosis at the ER, including, but not limited to, doctors misdiagnosing terminal illnesses. Luckily, the statistics surrounding misdiagnosis in the ER are low.

However, if it happened to you, it can still be distressing. That leads you to ask, can you sue an emergency room for misdiagnosis? What options do you have?

Read on and find out what you can do if this happens to you.


Knowing the Difference Between Medical Misdiagnosis vs Negligence

Medical misdiagnosis is when a healthcare professional or facility incorrectly or inaccurately diagnoses a medical condition. This can be due to a lack of information, errors in interpretation, or inadequate assessment.

Medical negligence is when the care provided to a patient falls below the accepted standard of care in the practice. This can happen due to failure to follow protocol, medication errors, surgical errors, and informed consent violations.

Understand the Misdiagnosis

After being misdiagnosed at the ER, it is important to understand the misdiagnosis. This process may require some research regarding the diagnosis. There are several conditions that are often misdiagnosed.

Heart Attack

Misdiagnosing a heart attack can have serious effects, since getting help quickly is very important. Some less serious conditions can cause symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, and pain in the arm or mouth. This can delay getting the right treatment.


If health professionals don’t notice the signs of a stroke or mistake them for something else, you might have to wait longer to get the care that could save your life. Stroke symptoms include sudden numbness or weakness, trouble speaking or understanding, a strong headache, and trouble walking.

Pulmonary Embolism

Pulmonary embolism happens when a blood clot stops a blood vessel in the lungs, which can be dangerous or even kill the person. People may think that chest pain, shortness of breath, a fast beating, and coughing up blood are signs of other lung or heart problems.


Appendicitis is a disease in which the appendix gets inflamed and must be removed immediately by surgery. If appendicitis is misdiagnosed as a stomach problem or bladder infection, treatment can be put off, and the risk of complications like a burst appendix goes up.


Meningitis is an illness that makes the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord red and swollen. It can get worse quickly and become dangerous to your life. Some of the signs, like a severe headache, a stiff neck, a fever, and a sensitivity to light, can be confused for less serious problems.

Internal Bleeding

Internal bleeding can be hard to spot, especially in cases of trauma or abdominal problems. If you don’t notice signs like stomach pain, dizziness, low blood pressure, or a fast heart rate, you might not get help in time, which could be dangerous.

Fractures or Dislocations

When fractures or dislocations are misdiagnosed as sprains or strains, the patient may not get the right kind of immobilization or care. This could make the healing process take longer, cause extra pain and soreness, or cause long-term problems.


When severe infections, like sepsis or deep tissue infections, are not caught early, care can be delayed and the risk of complications goes up. At first, symptoms like fever, a faster heart rate, severe pain, or a red cut may be missed or misunderstood.

Once you find out you have been wrongly diagnosed, spend some time getting to know the details of the situation. Ask your healthcare provider to explain the original diagnosis and why it was given.

If the initial misdiagnosis was made due to negligence, an individual should consider taking legal action and report the incident. This can help to ensure that the oversight does not happen to anyone else.

If the misdiagnosis resulted in an injury or additional medical expenses, it is important to understand if compensation is possible. All of these steps may help an individual to gain a better understanding of the misdiagnosis and what options are available to them.

Seek a Second Opinion

Seeking a second opinion can help you determine whether the initial diagnosis was correct. You can begin this process by visiting a specialist who may be better equipped to diagnose your condition.

You can also request copies of your medical records and get copies of any test results that were conducted during your ER visit. It may be helpful to talk to your primary care doctor or contact your health insurance company to assist you in this process.

This step can provide a fresh perspective and potentially lead to an accurate diagnosis. Understanding the root cause of your condition will provide you with the proper treatment plan and the best path forward for your recovery.

Request a Review of Medical Records

Contact the healthcare provider or facility that provided the misdiagnosis and formally request a review of your records. During this review, a qualified medical professional should examine all diagnoses and associated treatments from the ER visit and determine whether an error was made.

When requesting a review, make sure the provider is aware of the diagnosis you strongly disagree with and the proposed treatments that you believe were incorrect. If the review finds that an error was made, you may have the option to pursue legal action.

Depending on the circumstances, you may also have the option to file a formal complaint with the hospital or doctor. Once a complaint is filed, an investigation will be conducted into the matter.

Consult a Medical Malpractice Attorney

Consulting with a medical malpractice attorney can help you determine the best course of action. They are experienced in dealing with medical malpractice cases just like yours and differentiating negligence vs malpractice.

Medical misdiagnosis lawyers offer free consultations. You can discuss the details of your case in more depth and gain a better understanding of the legal recourse that is available to you.

Your lawyer can help you file a case that could get you money for any harm you’ve been through because of the wrong diagnosis. This includes lost wages, extra hospital bills, and the pain and suffering the person went through.

Also, they can help you get justice by making sure the people at fault are held accountable for their mistakes. No one should have to deal with the effects of bad medical care, so having a medical malpractice lawyer on your side can be a big help.

Take Legal Action

When going for a misdiagnosis lawsuit, there must be proof that a medical professional made a wrong diagnosis. You must be able to show that they did not provide the level of care that would be expected of a competent professional in the same situation. It must also be shown that the wrong diagnosis happened because someone was careless or didn’t follow set protocols.

Also, you must be able to show that the wrong diagnosis caused you harm or injury, such as physical pain, worsening of your condition, unnecessary medical treatments, prolonged suffering, extra medical costs, or other types of damage. A lot of the time, medical professionals’ expert evidence is needed to set the standard of care and show that someone was negligent.

Each state has a statute of limitations that says how long you have to file a case for medical malpractice. It’s important to know the rules in your area and take legal action within the time limit. If you don’t do that, the case could be thrown out.

Contact the Medical Licensing Board or Regulatory Agency

Think about telling the right medical authorities what happened. Depending on how bad the wrong diagnosis was, the state health department, the body that accredits the hospital, or the state medical board could be involved in the complaint.

These groups can look at the facts of the report and decide if the doctor did something wrong or was negligent. After the complaint is made, the right agency will look into it and, if the complaint is found to be true, might take corrective action or give a penalty.

Focus On Your Health and Well-Being

When an emergency room gives you the wrong diagnosis, it’s important to take a step back and think about your health and well-being again. This might mean taking a long break from work to spend time with family and friends.

Take charge of your health by going to the gym, eating well, and talking to a doctor about how you feel. A professional in psychiatry will be able to help you come up with a plan to deal with mental stress.

Getting Answers: Can You Sue an Emergency Room for Misdiagnosis?

It can be scary and stressful to get the wrong diagnosis at the ER, but there are things you can do afterward. Make sure you give yourself some time to think about what happened and make plans for the future.

If you think your wrong diagnosis affected your care, you might want to get a second opinion. Can you sue an emergency room for misdiagnosis? Yes. With the guidance of an attorney, you can take legal action.