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Can You Sue if Your Heart Attack was Misdiagnosed?

Medical misdiagnosis is a serious error that can not only result in significant and lasting harm to the patient but even cause death. We’re all only human, and overworked doctors and nurses might make honest mistakes in the fast-paced ER setting, so a misdiagnosis alone may not be enough to drive a medical malpractice case. 

It could be that medical professionals do everything right, but the symptoms presented and the testing and evaluation conducted simply lead to a wrong diagnosis. If, however, a healthcare provider was negligent, and that negligence resulted in serious harm to the patient or even death because of a (misdiagnosis) heart attack. The right conditions exist to move forward with a lawsuit.

Who Can Be Held Responsible? 

Any number of medical professionals could be liable for medical malpractice in the event that a heart attack is misdiagnosed. In the ER setting, this list could include:

  • Physicians (staff or consulting)
  • Consulting specialists, like a cardiologist
  • Nurses
  • Interns/medical students

However, patients with relatively mild symptoms may consult with other healthcare providers before making a pricey trip to the ER. Whether you visit your primary physician, a general practitioner, or an Urgent Care facility, the physicians, nurses, assistants, and even lab techs managing diagnostic tests could be deemed responsible for (misdiagnosis) heart attack.

Common Reasons Why Heart Attacks Are Misdiagnosed

If you watch a lot of medical dramas, you’re no doubt familiar with the trope of a patient clutching their chest and falling to their knees in the throes of a heart attack. When a real-world heart attack occurs, it is rarely so dramatic.

In fact, many people who visit the ER understand that they’re experiencing something significant but fail to realize their symptoms indicate a heart attack. This is why it’s so important for healthcare workers to deliver a correct diagnosis. Heart attack symptoms may be misdiagnosed because: 

  • Healthcare workers don’t pay close attention to the patient’s complaint
  • Healthcare workers fail to conduct a thorough medical history or evaluation
  • Patients don’t offer enough information about their symptoms or risk factors
  • Healthcare workers fail to assess the situation or patient condition properly

The unfortunate truth is that the same symptoms that herald a heart attack could be written off as a wide range of other, less serious conditions. Common symptoms like chest pain, abdominal pain, back pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, fatigue, sleep disruption, heavy limbs, nausea and vomiting, and more could be attributed to acid reflux, indigestion, a panic attack, or other conditions.

Misdiagnosis in women is particularly prevalent because women often lack the most telling sign of a heart attack: chest pain. Women present with symptoms like stomach pain, nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath more often than men, and these symptoms may not be recognized as being heart-related. This can result in misdiagnosis, especially in women without other concerning risk factors for heart attack.

Call a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today!

Going to the ER with heart attack symptoms can be a frightening experience, but not nearly as scary as what happens when a heart attack is misdiagnosed. Whether you’ve suffered harm due to misdiagnosis of a heart attack or you’ve lost a loved one, the qualified and talented legal team at The Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq. can determine if you have a case for medical malpractice and help you pursue maximum compensation. Contact us now at 310-289-2600 or online to schedule your free initial consultation.

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