Misdiagnosed Heart Attacks: What You Need to Know
When visiting a trained physician, patients should be able to trust their diagnoses and not have to worry whether their doctors’ assessments are unreliable. That sentiment is especially true considering that heart-related medical issues, like heart attacks, are the leading cause of death nationwide. Fortunately, many treatments can effectively prevent worsening conditions and future heart attacks when heart health concerns are found quickly. However, heart attacks can also be life-threatening when misdiagnosed or otherwise left untreated.
If you or a loved one suffered harm due to a doctor’s failure to diagnose a heart attack, do not hesitate. You may be entitled to financial compensation. Contact our knowledgeable legal team at Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, as you may be able to pursue a medical malpractice case. Our New York medical malpractice attorneys will gladly provide you with a free, no-obligation legal consultation, through which we will review the facts of your case to explore all of your options.
Common Signs of Heart Attacks
A heart attack occurs when the blood flowing through the heart is stopped or dramatically reduced. Typically, these incidents occur due to the victim’s coronary arteries narrowing over time. Substances like cholesterol, fat, and other forms of plaque, may clog the artery passageways. A heart attack ensues when such a blockage results in a deficit of oxygen within a portion of the heart’s muscles. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of a heart attack include the following:
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Pain in one arm
- Pain in the neck or back
- Jaw pain
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Cold sweats
Physicians are expected to know each of the symptoms and warnings of this severe medical condition. Therefore, a doctor’s failure to properly diagnose a heart attack may qualify as medical malpractice. Because of this, it is essential to speak with a New York tort attorney about the circumstances of your case.
Is Every Failure to Diagnose an Instance of Malpractice?
Physicians are required to provide a reasonable standard of professional medical care. Malpractice occurs when a doctor does not behave the way a similarly trained professional would, given the circumstances.
In the case of a heart attack, a medical professional may have engaged in malpractice if they mischaracterized a heart attack as a much less-serious condition. For example, your doctor may misdiagnose your heart attack as a case of severe indigestion. With that said, however, not every instance of a misdiagnosis automatically qualifies as negligence or malpractice. The amount of information available to the doctor at the time of the diagnosis is a relevant factor in determining whether negligence genuinely occurred.
All trained medical professionals should know the symptoms of a heart attack, so a New York attorney may ask the following questions to determine whether your physician was medically negligent:
- Did medical records name typical heart attack symptoms?
- Did the victim report a family history of heart issues?
- Did the physician order the proper medical tests?
- Did the doctor carefully examine the victim?
- What follow-up questions did the medical professional ask?
- Did the victim receive a subsequent heart attack diagnosis?
Understanding Cardiac Arrest and Heart Disease
In the United States, cardiovascular illness is the leading cause of death among adults, with approximately one million Americans experiencing cardiac arrest yearly. Around half of that number die due to their underlying heart disease. Medical treatment for cardiac arrest survivors focuses on removing arterial blockages, allowing blood to flow freely through the patient’s heart. As a result of successful treatment, the patient’s heart can receive the oxygen it needs to function properly.
One common procedure for treating heart disease is “thrombolytic therapy.” During this treatment, a “clot-busting” drug is administered. It should be administered as soon as possible once the arterial blockage is discovered, so the outcome can be devastating when a physician fails to diagnose heart disease accurately.
Surgical treatments for cardiac arrest also exist, which include coronary artery bypasses and angioplasty. Despite their specialized approach, surgical approaches are also very time sensitive. If a medical professional does not correctly and quickly identify the signs and symptoms of a heart attack, patients may experience severe consequences.
Speak with a New York Tort Attorney
If you or a family member has been misdiagnosed following a heart attack, you may have a valid tort claim in the state of New York. Remember, malpractice cases are rarely simple. They require carefully reviewing your medical records and other documents before filing a lawsuit. If you are a New York resident, the state’s statute of limitations imposes a deadline to initiate a medical malpractice claim. This deadline is typically 30 months after the alleged malpractice occurred. But, even 30 months is not much time for investigating and building a successful medical malpractice case.
If you believe you or a family member has been misdiagnosed following a heart attack in New York, contact our team at Silberstein, Awad, and Miklos today for a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our medical malpractice attorneys.