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Heart Attack Misdiagnosis

Medical Malpractice Resulting in Misdiagnosed Heart Attack

The numbers on heart attack misdiagnoses are startling. According one study, as many as one in three patients who seek treatment for symptoms consistent with a heart attack receive a misdiagnosis, with the rate of misdiagnosis being significantly higher among women than men. Similarly, the American College of Cardiology reports that, “[i]n a study of 1,180 malpractice claims against internal medicine physicians . . . the most common patient allegation (39 percent of claims) was diagnosis-related—with a full 6 percent of cases involving undiagnosed or missed diagnosis of myocardial infarction.”

Why do doctors so commonly misdiagnose heart attacks? The answer to this question appears to be threefold:

  • First, many of the symptoms of a heart attack can be symptoms of other medical conditions as well. If a physician does not order the appropriate tests and conduct an appropriate differential diagnosis, the misinterpretation of a patient’s symptoms can lead to a heart attack misdiagnosis.
  • Second, the symptoms of a heart attack differ among women and men. Women often experience a number of “atypical” heart attack symptoms, and this is a factor in the high rate of heart attack misdiagnosis among female patients.
  • Third, somewhat paradoxically, the severity of a myocardial infarction is likely a factor in the high rate of misdiagnosis as well. Doctors may be hesitant to diagnose patients with a heart attack when their symptoms are also indicative of other, less-severe, conditions, and patients who present with early symptoms of a heart attack may not appear to be at risk for a life-threatening adverse medical event.

The Tragic Consequences of Heart Attack Misdiagnosis

The consequences of a heart attack misdiagnosis can be devastating. In the most-tragic cases, an improper diagnosis or failure to diagnose a heart attack can be fatal, and patients who survive will often face an unnecessarily long and difficult road to recovery. A non-fatal heart attack misdiagnosis may result in:

  • Arrhythmia
  • Chest pain (angina)
  • Chronic heart disease
  • Heart failure
  • Heart rupture
  • Increased risk for other potentially-serious medical conditions

From medical expenses to loss of earning capacity, the financial costs of these and other complications can be substantial. Patients with misdiagnosed heart attacks can also experience chronic pain, physical limitations, psychological effects and various other long-term consequences.

Seeking Financial Compensation for A Misdiagnosed Heart Attack

Seeking financial compensation for a misdiagnosed heart attack involves filing a claim for medical malpractice. All types of physicians (both specialists and non-specialists) are held to a certain standard of care; and, when they fail to meet this standard, they deserve to be held accountable. At Alley, Clark & Greiwe, our attorneys have over a century of combined experience in medical malpractice and personal injury litigation. If you are entitled to financial compensation, we can help you, and we encourage you to schedule a free case evaluation today.

Schedule a Free Case Evaluation in Tampa, FL

To schedule your free case evaluation at Alley, Clark & Greiwe, please call 800-840-0977 or contact us online. We will make arrangements for you to meet with one of our Tampa medical malpractice attorneys as soon as possible. You pay nothing unless we win.

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