Failure to Diagnose Heart Attacks: Medical Malpractice
February is American Heart Month so this seems like a good time to talk about heart attacks, or more specifically, the damage that can be caused from failure to diagnose heart attacks. Until it was replaced by COVID-19, heart disease and the conditions it causes was the leading cause of death in the United States. Heart attacks, stroke and heart failure are all mostly preventable diseases when we make healthy lifestyle choices. A major survival factor for those experiencing heart attacks is access to quality healthcare with physicians who correctly diagnose their health issue.
If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one due to a medical professional’s failure to diagnose or misdiagnose a heart attack, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering and more through a medical malpractice claim.
Failure to diagnose heart attacks
It’s a horrifying thought…your life is in danger as you experience a heart attack and the very health professionals you are depending on to help you, fail to diagnose your medical condition. The sad truth is that failure to diagnose a heart attack happens more often than it should. For women, the problem is particularly common because they are more likely to experience nausea or vomiting as primary symptoms: doctors miss heart attack signs in women 50 percent of the time. Overall, about one in 50 people who visit an ER while experiencing a heart attack are sent home without a proper diagnosis.
Why are heart attacks misdiagnosed?
Heart attacks are misdiagnosed for a variety of reasons. Most often, the reason for the failure to diagnose is that the symptoms experienced by the patient can lead doctors to believe the patient is suffering from a different medical condition.
How can misdiagnosis be avoided?
This is where diagnostic testing comes in. Appropriate diagnostic testing would eliminate the problem because it would determine if the patient was experiencing a heart attack or some other health problem. When a doctor eliminates the possibility of a heart attack in their own minds, they are potentially endangering their patients by missing a vital diagnosis.
What are the consequences of a failure to diagnose heart attack?
There are many serious health problems that can arise for patients who are sent home without proper treatment for a heart attack including paralysis, stroke and even death. The longer the heart goes without blood flow and treatment, the more potential for there is for serious damage.
Medical malpractice claims for failure to diagnose heart attacks
Failure to diagnose is a common type of medical malpractice claim and a failure to diagnose a heart attack claim has the potential to recoup a large settlement when the patient was seriously harmed as a result of a failed diagnosis.
When a doctor fails to order appropriate tests to confirm or rule out a diagnosis based on the symptoms experienced by their patient, they may have acted negligently by failing to provide an acceptable standard of care for a potential heart attack patient. Once a duty of care has been established by showing the patient was treated by the doctor, negligence must be proved. Finally, actual damages must have been experienced such as pain and suffering and medical bills and they must have been caused by the physician’s negligence.
Seek the help of a medical malpractice attorney
If you were injured because of medical negligence or lost a loved one due to a preventable medical error, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced medical malpractice attorney fight for justice on your behalf. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a medical negligence lawyer. Call the most experienced practicing medical malpractice attorneys Bellingham has at Tario & Associates, P.S. today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing people injured by medical negligence in Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!