When Failure to Diagnose a Heart Attack Becomes Florida Medical Malpractice
Did you know that every year, thousands of people die because their doctors failed to diagnose their heart attacks? According to the New England Medical Center, which published a report in the New England Journal of Medicine, one out of 50 heart attack suffers will be mistakenly discharged by ER doctors. Other studies say the rate of failure for misdiagnosing heart attacks is higher.
Granted, not every stroke or heart attack is preventable, but considering that heart disease is a leading cause of death in the US, it is important that medical professionals do everything they can to diagnose any symptoms as soon as possible to increase the chances of recovery and minimize any permanent side effects or complications.
Contrary to what we see in the movies, not all heart attacks are sudden and intense. Many begin slowly, often starting as mild discomfort or pain. Other signs of a possible heart attack:
• Chest discomfort that comes and goes (may include pain, pressure, or squeezing)
• Discomfort or pain in the arms, neck, jaw, back, or stomach
• Shortness of breath
• Cold sweat
About 500,000 people die from heart attacks in this country each year. Other complications and long-term effects that can result if someone is lucky enough to survive one may include:
• Deep vein thrombosis
• Cardiogenic shock
• Pulmonary edema
• Ventricular aneurysm
• Myocardial ruptures
• Congestive heart failure
• Erectile dysfunction
• Enlarged heart
• Another heart attack
One reason that a doctor may fail to diagnose a heart attack is because the symptoms can be misidentified as signs of another condition/illness or even as nothing much to be concerned about. A doctor may neglect to conduct the proper test or misread test results. Obviously, the sooner a heart attack is treated the better.
In South Florida, please contact our Coral Springs heart attack malpractice law firm if you believe that a heart attack could have been prevented or diagnosed sooner.
According Jury Verdict Research, the highest malpractice payouts have come from lawsuits over missed heart attack diagnoses. In 2006, USA Today reported that the median jury verdict for heart attack malpractice lawsuits was $941,000, with the highest, an Illinois case, hitting $9 million and the lowest, an Oklahoma case, ending in an $81,000 award. Most heart attack malpractice settlements are a result of mistakes in diagnosis.
Unfortunately, stroke misdiagnosis also happens, as doctors overlook or wrongly diagnose its symptoms, which can include loss of balance, dizziness, blurred vision, weakness or numbness on one side of the body, severe headaches, confusion, problems walking, and swallowing difficulties. A stroke may result in brain damage, muscle movement loss, paralysis, problems while swallowing or talking, memory loss, comprehension difficulties, changes in behavior, physical pain or numbness.
When a heart attack goes undiagnosed, USA Today, November 4, 2008
Heart Attack Warning Signs, NIH.gov
Stroke, Mayo Clinic
More Blog Posts:
Miami Medical Malpractice: Surgical Errors Can Cause Serious Laparoscopic Injuries, Florida Injury Attorney, December 14, 2011
Miami Medical Malpractice: Wrong Site Surgeries Can Lead to Catastrophic Consequences, Florida Injury Attorney, October 6, 2011
Broward County Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Filed in Woman’s Liposuction Death, Florida Injury Attorney, November 9, 2011
Trop & Ameen, PA is a South Florida medical malpractice law firm. We have law offices in Naples, Hollywood, Miami, Boca Raton, Coral Springs, and West Palm Beach.