Every year, almost half a million Americans die of a heart attack. It has been estimated that one in 50 heart attack victims are sent home by emergency room doctors. Heart attacks that go undiagnosed can lead to serious problems and often times, death. When a doctor fails to take the appropriate measures to identify a heart attack, the situation is considered medical malpractice.
Undiagnosed heart attacks account for the highest medical malpractice settlements. Errors made by doctors when it comes to detecting a heart attack carry severe consequences. Many times, a death caused by a misdiagnosed heart attack could have been prevented. Doctors believe that the number of people who die each year of misdiagnosed heart attacks is very high.
Stories are frequently circulated about patients who are sent home after going to the hospital complaining of symptoms associated with a heart attack. A story appeared in USA Today a couple of years ago about a man who was taken by ambulance to the hospital with chest pains and shortness of breath, only to be sent home by the emergency room doctor who diagnosed the patient with anxiety. Within 24 hours the man died. His wife was quoted in the article as saying she felt like more could have been done to save her husband.
It is important to be familiar with the warning signs of a heart attack. According to the American Heart Association, these symptoms include chest discomfort, discomfort in other areas of the upper body, shortness of breath, breaking out into a cold sweat, nausea and lightheadedness. If you or a family member experiences any of these symptoms, emergency medical attention is crucial.
Hospitals and doctors can be held liable for misdiagnosed heart attacks. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can build a case based on the evidence to help you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact Tavss Fletcher at (757) 625-1214 for legal advice regarding your medical malpractice case.
The article, Undiagnosed Heart Attacks, has more information on this subject.