Rapid Diagnosis Of Heart Attack Is Critical To Effective Treatment

Coronary heart disease or CHD is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. CHD is caused by a narrowing of the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart, and often results in a heart attack. Each year, about 1.1 million Americans suffer a heart attack. About 460,000 of those heart attacks are fatal. About half of those deaths occur within 1 hour of the start of symptoms and before the person reaches the hospital.

Quick Treatment Can Mean The Difference Between Life And Death

Treatments for a heart attack work to open the blocked artery to restore blood flow as fast as possible to prevent or limit damage to the heart muscle, and to lessen the chance of a repeat attack. The main treatments are thrombolytic ("clot-busting") therapy, other medications, and special procedures, such as angioplasty and coronary artery bypass surgery. To be most effective, these treatments must be given fast- within 1 hour of the start of heart attack symptoms. Acting fast can save your life and limit damage to your heart.

Heart Attacks often develop over many years. They may start with blocked arteries or disease and advance quietly for years before triggering an event that sends the person to the doctor or the emergency room or urgent care facility. The difficulty with heart attacks is that they often appear at first glance to be another condition. A person who has frequent bouts of heartburn and indigestion may think that a heart attack is just another case of indigestion. The average person can be forgiven for doing that-a doctor in the emergency room or an urgent care center cannot!

Symptoms Of A Heart Attack

When a patient appears in an emergency room or urgent care facility complaining of the symptoms that indicate a heart attack, including one or all of the following:

  • chest discomfort or pain
  • jaw pain
  • neck pain
  • back pain
  • arm pain (in one or both arms)
  • stomach pain
  • shortness of breath
  • indigestion
  • sweating
  • nausea
  • lightheadedness
  • dizziness

a physician is obligated to perform the routine tests to diagnose the heart attack, or rule out its existence. That is why a person goes to the hospital and that is what they have a right to expect. Sadly, if an emergency room or urgent care facility physician fails to take enough time with the patient to recognize all of the symptoms, they may not order the appropriate tests such as cardiac enzymes, electrocardiogram, EEGs, EKGs, blood tests, nuclear scan, coronary angiography or arteriography, MRIs, MRAs and CT scans.

Especially with strokes, TTAs, TIAs and heart attacks, prompt treatment is essential given the availability of drugs and surgical procedures which minimize the potential for irreversible injury. A negligent physician who fails to act to stop the progression of a heart attack or stroke puts you at risk for brain damage, paralysis or long-term disability, even death. These types of injuries, though not always unavoidable, are certainly catastrophic, especially when they could have been avoided.

Heart Attacks Are The Single Leading Malpractice Litigation-Related Condition

Because heart attacks are mostly suffered by men over 45, they are often underdiagnosed in women or younger adults. In any age patients, common misdiagnoses of heart attacks include, but are not limited to gastrointestinal disorders, musculoskeletal pain, or respiratory ailments such as pneumonia or bronchitis.

If you or a family member have suffered from a heart attack and feel the personnel in the emergency room or urgent care facility did not do all they could to head off the occurrence, or if they sent you home only to have you return later, you should have a medical malpractice lawyer who is qualified in both the law and medicine, examine your medical records to see if something more could have been done. Veronica Richards is both a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer and a Nurse Practitioner. She understands both the law and medicine.

Get Legal Help After A Missed Heart Attack Diagnosis

The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area medical malpractice attorneys of Richards & Richards, offer free, no-obligation initial consultations in a range of negligence, including those involving medical malpractice, wrongful death and related wrong diagnosis and delayed diagnosis issues. Please contact a Pennsylvania Malpractice Lawyer via email or call 866-740-3999 to have your medical malpractice case involving a heart attack evaluated by an attorney with a background in medicine. Our Medical Malpractice Lawyers will consult with qualified medical professionals and they know what questions to ask to get answers.

If you cannot make it to our Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania offices, a Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Attorney can meet with you at your home and even at the hospital. There is no fee unless a financial recovery is made.