Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, yet a shocking number of heart attack misdiagnoses occur in hospital emergency rooms, urgent care clinics, and doctor’s offices. Women are more affected by misdiagnosed heart attacks than men, often because their symptoms do not line up with those commonly used by doctor’s evaluation protocols. Heart attacks in both men and women require prompt proper diagnosis and immediate treatment to minimize the risks of serious medical complications and fatality.
Someone in the U.S. has a heart attack every 40 seconds and close to 900,000 annual deaths are due to heart disease. Despite this being a common medical emergency, it’s often misdiagnosed or doctors overlook the symptoms. While prompt treatment can minimize damage and save lives, when left untreated, or when treatment is significantly delayed, a heart attack results in cardiac muscle damage, often leading to disability or death.
The misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis of a heart attack may be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit if a physician failed to notice the symptoms or did not make a timely diagnosis of a heart attack and initiate treatment promptly. Speaking with a specialized failure to diagnose heart attack lawyer in Boston can help you file a legal claim and seek compensation.
Who Is Responsible for a Misdiagnosed Heart Attack?
Most people who experience painful symptoms go to the emergency room. If the symptoms are uncomfortable rather than painful, they may go to their regular doctor. Our team of experienced Boston medical misdiagnosis attorneys have seen most heart attack misdiagnoses occur in these settings. Some medical professionals commonly at fault for negligence in diagnosing a heart attack include:
- Emergency Room physicians
- Triage nurses
- Consulting physicians
- Consulting cardiologists
- Medical students and interns
- Family doctors
- Urgent Care doctors
- Physician’s assistants
Factors that may lead to misdiagnosed heart attacks or failure to diagnose a heart attack include:
- Failing to take a complete medical history
- Failing to recognize symptoms (especially in women)
- Incomplete physical exams
- Not recognizing heart attack symptoms in otherwise healthy people, younger individuals, and women
- Failing to order proper diagnostic tests
- Failing to consult a cardiologist
- Lab or EKG-reading errors
These and other factors may lead to a missing the proper diagnosis of a heart attack, often with disastrous results. This negligence constitutes medical malpractice.
What to Do After a Misdiagnosed Heart Attack
Misdiagnosing a heart attack may result from medical malpractice. If you or your loved one suffered a heart attack misdiagnosis, you may be wondering where to turn. First, seek health care elsewhere as soon as possible for a thorough examination, tests to determine the extent of the damage, and a treatment and recovery plan. Then the following steps may help you with a successful claim for compensation for damages such as medical expenses, future medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering:
- Ask your new doctor to take detailed medical notes of your condition
- Ask for copies of your medical records from the facility where the misdiagnosis occurred
- Keep all medical bills related to the heart attack and treatment
- Consult a medical malpractice attorney to evaluate your case.
If a physician fails to recognize symptoms, fails to order the correct medical tests, or misreads an EKG or lab results, it’s a negligent diagnostic error. Medical professionals owe a duty of care toward patients that includes adhering to the highest standards of medical diagnosis and treatment. If you or a family member suffered from a misdiagnosed heart attack, you deserve the maximum compensation for your injury. Seek legal representation from a Boston medical malpractice attorney to file a claim and fight for the compensation you deserve.