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In the previous two posts, our blog has discussed some basic background information about heart attacks, including the symptoms, the reasons why people delay securing the necessary treatment, and why it’s so important to get to the hospital as soon as possible if any of the aforementioned symptoms manifest themselves.
The unfortunate reality, however, is that things can sometimes get much worse for those people who go to the hospital seeking treatment for what is eventually determined to be a heart attack.
That’s because in the frenzied atmosphere of the emergency room where physicians are rushing to see as many people as possible, they may dismiss the symptoms of a heart attack (chest discomfort, nausea, etc.) as symptoms of a far less serious condition such as indigestion, neglecting to run the necessary tests (EKGs, EEGs, blood tests, etc.), and sending the patient home prematurely.
As we explored last time, this can have serious implications for the patient, as there is essentially a one-hour window in which to provide heart patients with the necessary treatment (thrombolytic therapy, angioplasty, coronary artery bypass, etc.) before lasting and even fatal damage can occur.
While it may seem hard to believe that trained medical professionals could make such a serious mistake, it happens far more often than you might think. In fact, this type of medical mistake is especially prevalent when the patient is a woman, because women may not fit the stereotypical profile of a heart attack sufferer.
Indeed, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine determined that women are seven times more likely than men to be victims of a mid-heart attack misdiagnosis and sent home prematurely.
All of this serves to underscore that physicians have a duty to perform otherwise routine tests to definitively rule out that a patient is not suffering a heart attack. When they fail to perform this basic duty, and a person suffers lasting damage or a family loses a loved one, it’s important to consider seeking justice.
An experienced and dedicated attorney can examine the circumstances to determine whether more could have been done and, if so, pursue the necessary legal action.
Please visit our page on Heart Attack Misdiagnosis to learn more.
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