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Can you sue if you're hurt in an emergency room?

When you go to the emergency room, you're in the most dire need. You're in pain, feeling sick and aren't thinking clearly. You don't want to wait any longer, and you'd do whatever someone tells you if it would help you feel like yourself again.

The problem with emergency rooms is that there is a high risk of malpractice and misdiagnoses. These doctors and nurses see patients only for a short time. Some are meeting patients for the first time in the most dire of circumstances. They have to make decisions, and sometimes, those decisions are wrong.

Take for example women's heart attacks. They don't always present in the same way as men's attacks. Women don't always have pain down the left side like men. Instead, they may present with upper back pain, abdominal pain, dizziness, vomiting or unusual fatigue. If a doctor misinterprets the signs, he or she could send the patient home to an untimely death.

If a doctor does send a woman home and she later has a heart attack, it's possible that she could pursue a claim against that provider. It depends on the situation, but if the provider misinterpreted tests or didn't order them because he or she didn't think a heart attack was the cause, then malpractice might be indicated.

No matter what condition you have, nurses and doctors need to see you as a person who needs help, not just a textbook case. They should order the right tests, listen to your concerns and look for the real answer for why you're unwell.

Source: FindLaw, "Misdiagnoses by Emergency Room Doctors," accessed Dec. 18, 2017

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