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Heart Disease Misdiagnosis

Our firm knows how to handle dismissed and delayed diagnoses

Heart disease is the number one fatal health problem in the United States, and it can take on many forms. Unfortunately, many dangerous heart conditions are misdiagnosed as something less severe, or dismissed altogether. Cardiac conditions can present differently on a person-to-person or demographic-to-demographic basis, which can make them hard to catch and easy to misdiagnose.

Despite how common and serious cardiac events and conditions are, they are still not always treated properly by healthcare providers and are subject to diagnostic errors. Many factors play into this; heart attacks can be "silent", and heart failure may not be evident until a serious cardiac event occurs, providing that the patient survives. Even so, taking the common occurrence of heart disease and cardiac incidents into consideration, our healthcare system somehow lets these potentially fatal conditions go undiagnosed.

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The Law Firm of Joseph F. Brown, MD, JD, PLLC - Physician and Attorney at Law knows what it takes to get justice when the healthcare system has wronged its patients. Medical malpractice cases are often complex and can be a lengthy process, which is why you need a skilled attorney to help get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today.

Signs of a heart attack

A myocardial infarction can be deathly silent, or show itself in the presence of several common symptoms. These tend to differ from person to person, and can present themselves differently in women, which is important for providers to note instead of overlooking patient complaints. Common symptoms can include one or more of the following:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety or panic
  • Chest pain, or pain in any other area of the upper body

Misdiagnosed heart attacks

Chest pains, numbness of the left arm, and shortness of breath are three indicators on a triage nurse's checklist that may send a patient from primary care to the emergency room. Once they get there, however, the pain may be gone or the patient may seem to be calm. This can easily lead to a misdiagnosis, the most common of which include:

  • Anxiety: panic and anxiety attacks can mimic the symptoms of a cardiac event
  • Acid Reflux or Indigestion
  • Heartburn (GERD)
  • Pneumonia
  • Gallstones
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Angina

While these conditions have symptoms that may look similar to heart attacks, they are incredibly different and can be ruled out during testing, and treated accordingly. In the case of a true cardiac event, however, overlooking symptoms or performing other medical errors can lead to severe mistakes.

This is especially true for women, whose complaints are often dismissed as anxiety, and the fact that they show different signs of heart attacks. For example, chronic pain does not always originate in the left arm, shoulder and back pain are incredibly common, as are nausea, fatigue, and cold sweats.

Why are heart attacks misdiagnosed?

Misdiagnosis of such a serious condition can have many different causes. Especially in an emergency room where the work is fast-paced and the staff are usually overworked, errors can arise fairly easily. The mirrored symptoms between conditions are a common cause of medical misdiagnosis, but other factors can contribute as well, such as:

  • Not ordering necessary tests
  • Not considering the possibility of a cardiac event in a young or otherwise healthy patient
  • Not taking a proper medical history
  • Lab testing error
  • Incorrect interpretation of EKG results, or using them as the sole source of diagnosis

We can help

Misdiagnosis is negligence, and the responsible parties should be held responsible. A heart attack is an incredibly severe and potentially fatal health occurrence that can easily happen again if not properly assessed. They can cause lengthy hospitalizations, large medical bills, and even fatalities. Victims of such negligence deserve compensation. That's why you need an experienced medical malpractice attorney on your side. Contact attorney Joseph F. Brown today for a free case evaluation.

Office Location

Law Firm of Joseph F. Brown, MD, JD, PLLC
3854 S. Naples Ave.,
Meridian, ID 83642
(208) 789-2222