The phrases “heart attack” and “heart disease” are dreaded terms that elicit images of patients clutching their chests, writhing in pain and gasping for breath. Regardless of one’s gender, most people hope that any issues with their hearts will be identified during a routine physical and that if one suffers a heart attack, the doctor and hospital will treat the symptoms appropriately. No one expects to be misdiagnosed or not get the necessary lifesaving treatment.
More Women Die From Heart Disease in Pennsylvania Than Men
However, Pennsylvania residents may find it interesting to learn that according to the American Heart Association more women than men die annually from heart disease. In fact heart disease is the number one killer of women. In the early 1990s the National Institutes of Health found that women who suffered heart attacks were not receiving the same kind of the care as men who had heart attacks. At that time the NIH noted that unless the symptoms exhibited by a woman were identical to those of men, a heart attack was often misdiagnosed or mistreated by doctors.
Subtle Heart Attack Symptoms Claim Lives
The AHA notes that symptoms of heart disease in a woman can be different from those a man experiences and are not well understood. Thus healthcare providers may not necessarily associate the symptoms being exhibited by a woman to be due to her experiencing a heart attack. Generally the symptoms in a woman are more subtle than in a man; instead of pain in the chest, a woman may experience shortness of breath, feel nauseous, be fatigued or have a backache. Thus, it is more likely for a woman who is experiencing a heart attack to be misdiagnosed or to receive delayed treatment.
Philadelphia Misdiagnosis Lawyers
Delayed treatment or misdiagnosis can result in serious long-term harm and even death of the patient. For any family or patient who is interesting in having the facts of their case evaluated to determine if a medical malpractice lawsuit is warranted, may find it helpful to contact a medical malpractice law firm for more information.
Source: The Washington Post, “The battle for women’s hearts – and lives,” Barbra Streisand, April 10, 2015