MT. LAUREL, NJ, April 26, 2009 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Anyone who has ever had some kind of chest discomfort may think at some point that they are having a heart attack. In some, or even most cases, a heart attack is not the problem. Things such as gas pains, chest colds, or something else may cause a moment of panic. Even in these situations, however, the person can at least go to the hospital and hear from a doctor that they are not suffering a heart attack, which gives the person peace of mind. But what if the doctor is wrong?
A heart attack, or myocardial infarction, is the result of blockage in one of the arteries to the heart, cutting off the blood supply. This damages the heart, which can then lead to serious long-term disability or death. The onset can be gradual or immediate. Getting treatment at a hospital quickly may mean the difference between life and death. Doctors and emergency room personnel are trained to spot the symptoms of a heart attack and work quickly to keep the patient from suffering any more damage to their heart. These symptoms include:
- Pain or discomfort in the chest
- Pain or discomfort in another area of the upper body, such as the shoulder, arm, jaw, back, or stomach
- Profuse sweating
- Shortness of breath
- Vomiting or nausea
- Profound anxiety or a feeling of "impending doom"
When a person comes into an ER with any of these symptoms, several things can be done to check if someone is suffering a heart attack. Taking a person's medical history, giving them a physical, ordering tests such as an EKG, and blood tests, are standards for checking to see if someone is having a heart attack. However, someone may come into an ER with the symptoms of heart attack only to be told they may simply be suffering from something less serious, such as heart burn, anxiety attack, gallstones, acid reflux, and more. Or perhaps there is something else that belies the "standard profile" of those who have heart attacks the most. Young people and women are most likely to be misdiagnosed with something else simply because heart attacks do not typically affect these types of people, according to conventional wisdom.
Common factors that lead to a heart attack misdiagnosis may include:
- Failure to perform a physical exam
- Failure to take a proper medical history
- Failure to order necessary tests in a timely manner
- Failure to consult cardiac specialists in time
- Improper or overreliance on EKG results
- Failure to consider heart attack in young patients or women
- Laboratory error
Any of these may lead to an outright dismissal by medical professionals that someone is having a heart attack. This does not only affect the patient, but their family and friends as well. Suffering serious injury or death as the result of heart attack misdiagnosis may cause physical, emotional, or financial problems. As a result of the negligence of medical professionals, seeking compensation may be in order. The patient or their family may be entitled to compensation for:
- Current and future lost wages
- Current and future medical expenses
- Long-term disability
- Long-term care
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality, or enjoyment, of life
- Loss of companionship
- Burial expenses
Because heart attack misdiagnosis cases have certain time constraints, it is important that an experienced medical malpractice attorney be consulted as soon as possible. They will be able to help get the compensation deserved.
If you or your loved one is in the New Jersey or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area, and want to file a medical malpractice suit because of a heart attack misdiagnosis, please contact the experienced injury lawyers at Weiss & Paarz P.C. today.