Baltimore, MD Attorney for Missed Heart Attacks
There is a reason that “as serious as a heart attack” is a somewhat common expression: heart attacks are one of the most serious medical conditions you can face. A heart attack can often be deadly if left untreated.
Heart attacks usually occur when blood flow to the heart is cut off by blockages in the arteries. Your heart cannot get oxygen without blood flow, and tissue death in the heart can occur. Quick action and diagnosis can often help patients avoid the serious consequences of a heart attack.
If your physician misdiagnoses your heart attack, you could suffer serious consequences as your condition worsens.
Our Baltimore, MD attorneys for missed heart attacks fight to hold doctors and hospitals responsible for misdiagnosed heart attacks. For a free, confidential case review, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras today at (410) 694-7291.
Common Causes of Missed Heart Attacks in Baltimore
Heart diseases are sadly common in America. Every year, thousands of people suffer from heat-related illnesses. In many instances, individuals lose their lives due to heart attacks, one of the leading causes of death among adults in the United States.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 610,000 people lose their lives every year in the United States due to heart disease.
Even more staggering is the fact that 735,000 Americans suffer from heart attacks every year, according to the CDC. Unfortunately, many of these cases happen because of a misdiagnosis or failure to spot a heart attack.
There may be instances where a doctor misses a heart attack or confuses it with something else. While this may seem absurd given the years of preparation and experience required to become a physician, these types of medical errors are not uncommon.
According to several sources, nearly 11,000 heart attacks are missed every year throughout the country. Common causes of missed heart attacks include the following:
Doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff must make sure all patients receive the necessary screening procedures required for admission.
Unfortunately, many healthcare providers may miss or skip one of these critical procedures, which can lead to a misdiagnosis.
Furthermore, doctors have a responsibility to review a patient’s chart or medical history to understand their situation better. However, this is not always the case. Some careless, reckless, and negligent doctors may trust their instinct rather than what is written on a patient’s medical record.
By taking this approach, a doctor has a higher chance of misdiagnosing a heart attack or confusing it with something else, such as heartburn, acid reflux, or angina, among other conditions. If a doctor’s negligence caused you harm in Baltimore, we can help. Our medical malpractice lawyers can bring the liable parties to justice and get the compensation you deserve.
An electrocardiogram, or EKG, is a process used to detect possible heart disease. Generally, a healthcare provider or technician places electrodes in key parts of the body so that the machine can gather information on the heart’s rhythm.
Once the machine has taken the readings, the technician will print out the results, which must be read and interpreted by your treating physician.
Misreading this vital document can result in a failure to diagnose a potentially life-threatening condition. If you or a loved one suffered a heart attack because of an EKG mistake, our dedicated Baltimore missed heart attack injury attorneys can help you hold the liable parties accountable.
Unfortunately, inexperience – sometimes paired with a lack of oversight – can lead to a missed heart attack. For instance, training residents may be put in charge of assessing a patient. In such cases, an inexperienced resident can make mistakes that can be costly to the patient.
Most people go to the doctor to get checked by their treating physician. the last thing a patient likely wants is to be treated by an inexperienced resident. However, these situations happen anyway. If the negligence of a physician caused you harm, our skilled medical malpractice lawyers can help.
Race, Sex, and Age Disparities
It is surprisingly common for hospital workers to make mistakes in diagnosing a heart attack because of the patient’s race, sex, or age. it is a common experience that black people and women are often told that their pain is not as severe as they claim it is.
These people often face longer wait times at the ER and may be turned away without treatment, especially if the doctor is of a different race or sex.
Since heart attacks most commonly affect older adults, it is common for children and young adults having heart attacks to be turned away under the assumption that they could not possibly be having a heart attack.
If your age, sex, or race contributed to your heart attack going undetected until more harm was done, call a Baltimore attorney for missed heart attacks right away.
What Can Missed Heart Attacks Be Misdiagnosed As?
Symptoms of a heart attack often include pain in the chest, pain/discomfort in the arm/shoulder, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, and a wide range of other symptoms.
Many of these symptoms are also shared with far less serious conditions and everyday discomforts that people face. it is not uncommon for heart attacks to be mistaken for one of these other conditions or issues:
Many panic attacks can feel like heart attacks. Increased heart rate, tension, pain, discomfort, and shortness of breath are incredibly common in full-blown panic episodes.
Many people go to the ER every year thinking they are having a heart attack only to find out that they had a panic attack instead. Hospital workers could potentially assume the opposite and initially diagnose your heart attack as a panic attack.
Gas, Heartburn, and Indigestion
It is surprising how much pain and discomfort gas, heartburn, and indigestion can cause. it is also surprising that, despite this being stomach and intestinal issues, the pain can be felt in your chest. Without other symptoms of a heart attack – especially for mild heart attacks – a nurse or hospital worker at the ER could easily mistake your symptoms for gas and turn you away.
Although “heartburn” sounds like a cardiac condition, it is just acid in the stomach coming back up the esophagus and burning you. Mild to severe heartburn is usually not life-threatening, though it could require some medical treatment. Gas and indigestion could be painful or uncomfortable, but they are usually not life-threatening either.
Doctors can often rule out these conditions by asking questions about recent food consumption and diet. If these questions do not indicate digestive issues, they should not automatically dismiss heart attacks as these minor conditions.
Muscle Soreness in the Arms and Chest
Many people feel the pain of a heart attack radiating out into their shoulder or upper arm rather than in their chest. With pain in the arm or pain in the chest, it is possible that this could be dismissed as mere muscle soreness or a mild strain/ache. Especially if you recently worked out, a doctor might dismiss these symptoms as minor strains or sore muscles.
Angina pectoris is the medical term for “chest pain,” and it is sometimes considered a condition itself rather than just a symptom of other conditions. Angina could be a sign of ongoing cardiac issues, including coronary heart disease.
This condition can prevent your heart from getting as much oxygen as it needs and increase the risk of a heart attack, but it is distinct from an actual myocardial infarction (heart attack).
Angina could also be a symptom of a lung infection or other chest inflammation.
Angina is sometimes considered “stable” and costs with flair-ups from stress, bad foods, smoking, and other things that irritate heart conditions.
However, it isn’t always life-threatening or a sign of a heart attack and could be dismissed and treated with lifestyle changes and medication like many other chronic cardiac conditions.
Can I File a Medical Malpractice Claim for a Missed Heart Attack in Baltimore, Maryland?
As mentioned before, medical professionals must work diligently to provide you with the best medical services possible. Unfortunately, their negligence may lead to devastating consequences.
However, you can recover compensation from the liable parties by filing a medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice claims are based on personal injury law, and as such, they rely on a negligence theory.
A medical negligence claim’s purpose is to make you whole and offer you the opportunity to recover compensation – called damages – from those who caused you harm.
However, in order to recover damages, you have the burden of proving the defendant’s negligence. This can be achieved by establishing the presence of specific elements.
First, you will need to show, through evidence, the existence of a doctor-patient relationship, which stems from the care your medical professional provided you.
After you have shown the existence of a doctor-patient relationship, you can proceed to show the negligence aspect of your claim. This means showing that your doctor owed you a duty of care according to the medical standard of care, that they breached that responsibility, and that they caused you demonstrable losses.
Are There Damages Available for Missed Heart Attacks in Baltimore, Maryland?
If your doctor committed medical malpractice by failing to diagnose your heart attack, you could be entitled to financial compensation. Damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit are often hard to calculate, so it is important to talk to an experienced Baltimore lawyer for missed heart attacks to learn what damages you are entitled to.
First off, if the patient died because their heart attack went undiagnosed, the surviving family members can often sue for damages. A wrongful death suit can be filed for the benefit of the spouse, children, and parents of the deceased.
If the patient survived but was left with serious injuries, worsened condition, and a shorter potential lifespan, they can sue for many of these lost opportunities. the damages for these harms can include pain and suffering damages to attempt to make up for the losses.
Monetary damages are also available for the additional healthcare needs and financial effects. A missed heart attack can mean additional healthcare needs, such as emergency surgery, stents, a pacemaker or defibrillator, and other expensive medical treatments. You could also require cardiac rehab. These costs can all be claimed in a lawsuit.
Heart attacks can keep you away from work and activities you enjoy. If the heart attack was caught quickly, you might have only faced a short leave away from work and activities.
The increased time away from work and activities from a missed heart attack can be claimed as damages in the form of lost wages and increased pain and suffering damages. Talk to a Baltimore lawyer for missed heart attacks for help calculating your damages.
Baltimore, Maryland Missed Heart Attack Attorneys Handling Medical Malpractice Claims
If the negligent actions or omissions of a careless physician caused you harm in Baltimore, we may be able to assist. At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, we can help you hold the liable parties accountable for your losses.
Thanks to our many years of practice, we have developed the skills and knowledge to guide you strategically and effectively. Let our Baltimore missed heart attack lawyers help you handle your claim and fight tirelessly to recover the compensation you deserve.
To schedule a free, confidential case evaluation with one of our experienced lawyers, call our offices today at (410) 694-7291.