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Heart Attack Misdiagnosis

Although a heart attack is a common medical emergency, it is also one that is frequently misdiagnosed — with grave consequences. Most patients can recover when a heart attack is quickly diagnosed and properly treated. A heart attack can lead to permanent disability or death when it is misdiagnosed and left untreated, however. Whether a patient experiencing a heart ailment is misdiagnosed during an exam, or a heart attack is misdiagnosed in a hospital or emergency room, patients very lives are at risk. If you or a loved one has been harmed by a heart attack misdiagnosis, it is crucial to have proper legal representation.

Located in New York City, Prime Law Firm has extensive experience handling medical malpractice claims arising from heart attack misdiagnosis. While suffering a heart attack is a frightening experience, many victims can recover and go on to live normal lives if they are quickly diagnosed and properly treated. When a doctor, hospital, or emergency room staff fail to spot the symptoms of a heart attack and fail to treat it, victims and their families may be able to recover damages. With our winning legal team by your side, you can rest assured that you will receive the medical care you need and the compensation you deserve.

What is a heart attack?

A heart attack — or an acute myocardial infarction (MI) in medical terminology — occurs when a blockage in one or more of the heart's arteries reduces or cuts off the blood supply to a portion of the heart, damaging the heart muscle. Doctors and emergency room staff should always be alert to the symptoms of a heart attack, including:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Pain or discomfort in any other area of the upper body (e.g. shoulder, arm, back, jaw or stomach)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Heightened anxiety

Although some heart attacks present with sudden, intense symptoms, many victims opnly experienced mild, gradual discomfort. Nonetheless, doctors and emergency room staff must be careful not to mistake heart attack symptoms for those other less dangerous medical problems such as heartburn, acid reflux, angina, bronchitis, pneumonia, anxiety attack, gallstones or musculoskeletal pain.

At the same time, a neglected or mistaken symptom is not the only factor involved in heart attack misdiagnosis. Some heart attack victims are overlooked because they don't fit the profile that healthcare professionals expect, in particular younger individuals and women, even though women are at a much higher risk for heart attack than previously acknowledged.

Reasons for Heart Attack Misdiagnosis

Some of the factors leading to delayed diagnosis, misdiagnosis, or failure to diagnose heart attack, include:

  • Failure to take a proper and thorough medical history
  • Failure to perform a thorough physical examination
  • Failure to consider heart attack in otherwise healthy patients
  • Failure to consider heart attack in younger patients/women
  • Failure to order necessary tests in a timely manner
  • Failure to consult cardiac specialists in a timely manner
  • Improper reading of electrocardiogram (ECG) results
  • Overreliance on ECG results
  • Laboratory errors

Doctors and emergency room staff must be able to identify an imminent heart attack. This starts by taking a thorough patient history and listening intently to the patient, rather than simply attributing the patient's symptoms to a non life-threatening condition. Moreover, a proper diagnosis requires conducting a thorough and complete physical exam, and ordering proper testing, including electrocardiogram testing and blood tests for certain enzymes. Even when a heart attack cannot be prevented, prompt diagnosis and treatment is essential to prevent permanent injury or death.

What Prime Law Firm Can Do For You

A heart attack can result in sudden physical, emotional and financial burdens for victims and their loved ones. This is why it is essential to work with our experienced medical malpractice attorneys. We have decades of experience representing patients who have been harmed due to the misdiagnosis or the failure to treat a heart attack.

Our legal team will conduct a thorough investigation, which includes obtaining and reviewing all the pertinent medical records, identifying and interviewing witnesses — including doctors, hospitals, emergency room staff — and working with a credentialed network of medical experts to provide evidence and testimony that medical malpractice has occurred.

Above all, we will work tirelessly to help you obtain the compensation you deserve, which may include current and future medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, long-term disability, long-term care expenses, rehabilitation, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life. If a loved one's death was the result of a heart attack misdiagnosis, we will determine if there are grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit and fight to help you find justice.

At Prime Law Firm, we believe that no one should be forced to suffer because of a heart attack misdiagnosis. We will offer you knowledge, compassion and the personal attention you deserve. Please contact our office today to speak with one of our attorneys. The consultation is free and you will not pay any attorneys fees until we win your case.