Of the many ways errors can occur in the medical care of cardiovascular disease (CVD), mistakes often occur in the emergency room. Situations taking place in ERs are typically fast-paced and chaotic - the perfect recipe for an error. As difficult a job as ER physicians may have, the law does not typically hold them to a lower standard of care (compared with cardiologists) in the interpretation of EKGs and lab tests.

In one recent study of EKGs showing signs of cardiac ischemia that were read by ER physicians, retrospective review revealed an error rate of 28.9 percent. Other forms of CVD errors in the ER are possible, as well. If a patient who is suffering a myocardial infarction (heart attack) goes to a hospital that does not offer cardiac catheterization and/or open-heart surgery, the hospital has a duty to transport that patient to another hospital with those services as soon as the patient is stable.