A missed or delayed diagnosis of heart disease can lead to serious complications, advanced disease or death. The good news is that most types of heart disease are treatable with a timely diagnosis and proper medical care. We’re here to help with legal issues when that timely diagnosis is missed.
At The Colleran Firm, we represent injured patients and families that have lost a loved one when a doctor or other medical professional failed to correctly diagnose heart disease. For a free consultation with a Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney, connect with our firm. We are ready to answer your questions and explore your legal options.
Cardiac disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for around one in every four deaths. Cardiac disease encompasses a number of conditions, including the obstruction of blood flow in some way, weak heart muscles, heart defects, and other problems with the circulatory system. The symptoms of heart disease can easily be misdiagnosed, your best defense is to know the signs of a heart attack and seek medical attention immediately.
Most often, a failure to diagnose a disease or other medical condition involves a failure to properly interpret diagnostic test results, or a failure to order tests when certain symptoms are present. Those tests may include chest X-rays, electrocardiographs and electrocardiograms (ECG and EKG), and exercise tolerance tests (stress tests). Ignoring a patient’s risk factors and failing to properly assess his or her clinical condition are also possible causes of misdiagnosis.
Gender and race may also be factors when it comes to delayed diagnosis of heart disease. Doctors often misdiagnose women’s heart attacks, as symptoms of heart disease or heart attack present differently in women than they do in men. When doctors assume the male symptoms to be the default, they’re likely to miss the warning signs that could be evident in female patients. Racial minorities also suffer from cardiac disease at disproportionately high rates. These patients, in some cases, have been found to receive lower-quality medical care, and to be less frequently referred to specialists, according to federal government reports.
Any doctor can be involved in a misdiagnosis. A primary care doctor, who is the first line of defense and detection, could miss the early warning signs and fail to take action and refer the patient to a specialist or for tests. Radiologists and cardiac specialists are also capable of making serious errors. Even lab technicians or physician assistants could be negligent in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.
Many people who are having a heart attack will seek out their nearest emergency room for help with diagnosis and treatment. Emergency rooms typically see a high volume of patients leading to a stressful environment, where mistakes can easily occur. ER staff are also not well informed on the patient’s medical history or that of their family, this can cause doctors to dismiss certain symptoms. Some patients also exhibit atypical symptoms, and are misdiagnosed by the ER with ailments such as:
A delayed diagnosis of heart disease or treat cardiac disease can have serious consequences, such as heart attacks, strokes, aneurysms, and peripheral artery disease. Without immediate treatment, these conditions can lead to brain damage, severe physical impairments or death. The heart pumps blood to all vital tissues in the body, including the brain. Without a healthy heart, the rest of the body cannot function properly.
The Colleran Firm has extensive experience in pursuing compensation for medical malpractice, including cases involving misdiagnosis. We know how to pursue an effective legal strategy on your behalf. Our lawyers recently won a $10 million settlement on behalf of a woman who suffered brain damage as the result of a misdiagnosis.
If you or a loved one has suffered as the result of a doctor’s negligence, we can help you. Contact amissed heart attack attorney online or by phone for a free consultation. We can help you pursue justice if you are a victim of a medical professional’s failure to diagnose that you were suffering from heart disease.