When you hear “heart attack,” you probably imagine sudden and intense symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and loss of consciousness. However, heart attacks can have milder and less obvious symptoms, like fatigue, nausea, cold sweats, and dizziness. Although doctors treat tens of thousands of heart attacks every year, many still fail to diagnose this condition. Failure to diagnose a heart attack can lead to symptoms worsening, lack of treatment, and death. If you or a loved one has suffered because of failure to diagnose heart attack in Philadelphia, come to the medical malpractice attorneys at Anapol Weiss for legal assistance.
Failure to Diagnose Heart Attack and Medical Malpractice
Symptoms of a heart attack can be similar to several other conditions, increasing the odds of failure to diagnose in emergency rooms and doctors’ offices. However, there are established tests doctors should run to find out if a patient is experiencing a heart attack. Once the doctor sees the warning signs of a heart attack, he/she should order these tests to get to the bottom of the ailment. Failure to order the appropriate tests can result in no diagnosis, no treatment, and further damage to the patient’s health and prognosis.
It is a doctor’s duty to listen to a patient’s complaints, recognize the symptoms of a heart attack, and make a timely diagnosis. If a reasonably competent doctor would have made the diagnosis in the same or similar circumstances, the courts will call the defendant’s actions negligence. Professional negligence, or medical malpractice, occurs when a practitioner acts in a way that deviates from the accepted standards of care. In regard to a heart attack, this can mean failure to diagnose based on a patient’s symptoms and test results.
- Symptoms of a Heart Attack
- Erratic heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Pain in the arms or shoulders
- Neck or jaw pain
- Pale or blue-colored skin
- Cold sweats
- Chills, nausea, and fatigue
Patients with one or more of these symptoms require immediate action to test and treat for heart attacks. Doctors should list potential conditions in order of probability, then conduct tests to rule out each until the doctor can confidently make a diagnosis. Deviation from these diagnosis standards may qualify as medical malpractice.
Dangers of Failure to Diagnose Heart Attacks
Acting fast after a heart attack can save a life. Every minute matters. If a doctor fails to diagnose a heart attack, it can lead to further coronary problems, another heart attack, and death. The heart may sustain additional damage from failure to treat the first heart attack, leading to prolonged unnecessary suffering, medical procedures, and reduced odds of survival. Most fatal heart attacks are preventable with proper diagnosis and treatment measures.
Tests to diagnose a heart attack include blood tests, nuclear scans, radiographs of the chest, electrocardiograms, and coronary angiography. These tests can reveal that the patient did indeed suffer a heart attack, and requires immediate treatment. Failure to order the appropriate tests can lead to failure to diagnose, and a missed opportunity for treatment and preventative measures. Often, failure to diagnose a heart attack the first time leads to the patient returning a few hours later in full cardiac arrest.
Heart Attack Misdiagnosis Lawyers in Philadelphia
After a heart attack and a failure to diagnose heart attack incident, the last thing you may want to do is deal with a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, it may be the only opportunity you have to recover compensation for your or your loved one’s damages. A settlement award can go a long way toward helping you cover medical costs, lost wages, and funeral/burial costs in the event of wrongful death. With Anapol Weiss, a medical malpractice lawsuit doesn’t have to be complex or stressful. To discuss your individual case with an attorney, contact our firm today.