According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. Approximately 610,000 people die of heart disease every year in the country. Timely diagnosis of this serious disease is important because the longer an individual goes untreated, the more permanent damage may result.
Unfortunately, healthcare professionals commonly misdiagnose heart disease. Although mistakes are made in every profession, this type of medical mistake can result in serious and even fatal consequences. If you or a loved one has unnecessarily suffered as a result of the misdiagnosis of a heart attack, you may have a valid medical malpractice claim against your health care professional.
Common Reasons for Heart Attack Misdiagnosis
There are various reasons why physicians may misdiagnose a heart attack. Some of the common reasons include:
- The symptoms of the heart attack may be similar to another medical condition, such as heartburn or an anxiety attack.
- The symptoms are very mild.
- The patient may not have been previously diagnosed with heart disease, high cholesterol or blood pressure, diabetes, or have had other high-risk factors.
- The patient had a normal EKG test result, resulting in the medical professionals to rule out a heart attack as a plausible diagnosis without completing additional tests.
Nevertheless, if you have a medical emergency, you should reasonably expect a hospital staff or your doctor to provide the proper care and treatment that you need, especially in the case of a heart attack. If your health care provider fails to properly diagnose your heart attack or any other medical condition, you could further be harmed as a result or even die.
The Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack
Knowing the warning signs of a heart attack is key for chances of survival. According to the CDC, heart attacks have several major warning signs and symptoms, including:
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Upper body pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw or upper stomach
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea, lightheadedness or cold sweats
Nearly half of all Americans (47 percent) have at least one of the following risk factors for heart attacks:
- Overweight and obesity
- Poor diet
- Physical inactivity
- Excessive use of alcohol
A competent medical professional should be able to properly diagnose a heart attack if he or she properly and adequately considers all of the risk factors, signs and symptoms of the condition.
Consult with a Medical Malpractice Attorney in Orange County
If you or a loved one has suffered permanent damage or died as a result of the misdiagnosis of a heart attack or any other serious medical condition, you may be entitled to financial compensation by filing a medical malpractice claim. For more information or to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Orange County medical malpractice attorney, call the Law Offices of Samer Habbas today at 888.848.5084.