New York Emergency Care Receives a C Grade in Nationwide Study

Staff Writer | February 10th, 2014

New York Emergency Care Malpractice - NY Gets "C" on ER Report CardNew York State received an overall C grade from the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) in their report card evaluating the country’s emergency care environment.

Due to the increase in New York emergency care malpractice, NY state earned an F grade in its medical liability environment.  There has been a twelve-fold increase in malpractice payments in New York since ACEP last published its state-by-state report in 2009.

The state also has the fourth longest average emergency room wait times and the highest hospital occupancy rate in the nation, according to the report.

Increase in malpractice suits affects patients’ access to care

According to Dr. Jon Mark Hirshon, a member of ACEP and an emergency physician at the University of Maryland, the increase in medical malpractice lawsuits in New York affects patients’ ability to access a specialist in an emergency. He explained that the appropriate physicians may be afraid of being called for patients they don’t know for liability reasons.

New York has long ER wait time

Manhattan-based ER doctors involved with the ACEP study told the Daily News that many aspects of New York’s emergency medical system are getting worse. For example, ER patients in New York State now wait an average of 366 minutes –or 6.1 hours—to get treatment, as compared with the national average of 272 minutes.  South Dakota has the best median wait time with 176 minutes.

The report stated that New York State has the highest hospital occupancy rate in the nation – 80.3 patients per 100 staffed beds – and the fourth fewest ER departments per capita, a “troubling” eight per 1 million people. According to Dr. Lynn Richardson, vice chair of emergency medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, “Right now our crowding and boarding problem is really tremendous.” She told the Daily News, “It’s particularly bad in New York City.  At any given time you can find 30 patients taking up space in an emergency department even though they’ve already been admitted to the hospital.”

A lot of work to be done in New York emergency departments

According to the ACEP report, New York increased the number of registered nurses, specialists and board-certified emergency physicians since 2009. It also ranks among the top five states in the nation for its disaster preparedness policies. The state also continued to improve in the category of Public Health and Injury Prevention. This is attributed to the increase in the number of people wearing seatbelts and a requirement that motorcycle riders wear helmets.

Despite this progress, emergency physicians acknowledge there is work to be done. “We have one of the worse medical liability environments in the country,” said Dr. Daniel Murphy, president of the New York chapter of ACEP. “This affects people’s access to emergency care.”

A NY medical malpractice lawyer can help if you’ve been hurt

New York State residents who receive sub-standard emergency room care, due to gridlock in the state’s emergency rooms, or not seeing a specialist, are urged to contact the New York malpractice lawyers The Sanders Firm. In a free consultation, we will explore your legal rights to pursue compensation by investigating details of your case, and determining whether reasonable standards of care were violated. Victims of emergency room malpractice in NY may be eligible for compensation to cover past and future medical bills, lost wages due to injury, as well as non-economic damages, such as pain & suffering.

The NY personal injury lawyers at The Sanders Firm have many decades of experience litigating medical malpractice cases and have secured millions in settlements and jury verdicts for our clients.

If you suspect that you or a loved one has suffered from New York emergency care malpractice, contact The Sanders Firm for a free, no-obligation consultation to determine if you are eligible for compensation. Call toll-free 1-800-FAIR PLAY (800-324-7752).


  1. New York Daily News, January, 16, 2014,  http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/

  2. CNN.com, Support for nation's emergency medical care gets D-plus, January 16, 2014, http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/16/health/emergency-medical-report-card