Michigan Heart Attack Misdiagnosis Lawyer
Heart Attack Misdiagnosis and Delayed Diagnosis
Suffering a heart attack can be highly stressful for both the sufferer and their family members. In order to minimize the chances of death and heart scarring, emergency treatment is usually necessary within one hour. However, thousands of heart attacks are misdiagnosed or missed completely due to medical negligence. An undiagnosed heart attack can reduce the number of treatment options available for patients if left untreated for too long. Heart attack misdiagnosis is one of the many forms of medical malpractice that we fight against at Lipton Law.
If you or a loved one suffered a heart attack that was worsened due to a delayed or missed diagnosis, you might have a case. Speaking with a misdiagnosis lawyer at Lipton Law can help you understand your legal rights. We offer free consultations to all clients and will answer all questions you may have. Call 248-557-1688 today to schedule.
Heart Disease Statistics in the United States
According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women in the United States. In fact, it is so prevalent that approximately 659,000 people die from cardiovascular disease each year. That’s about one in four deaths in the U.S. happening due to heart disease.
A few troublesome statistics include:
- Every 36 seconds, a person dies from cardiovascular disease.
- The most common form of heart disease is coronary heart disease. It kills around 360,900 people each year.
- Coronary artery disease occurs in around 6.7% of all adults over the age of 20.
- Someone suffers a heart attack every 40 seconds in the United States.
- Approximately 805,000 people have heart attacks each year in the U.S.
- 605,000 of these are first-time heart attacks.
- 200,000 of these are repeat attacks.
- Approximately one-fifth of these is a silent heart attack.
Types of Medical Malpractice
Heart Attack Misdiagnosis Statistics
According to one study from 2021, cardiovascular disease and chest pain are misdiagnosed in women more often than in men. Because doctors underestimate the warning signs of a heart attack in women, they have higher rates of delayed and missed diagnosis. The study states that women have a 50% higher chance of a wrong initial diagnosis after a heart attack compared to men. It is important for any healthcare professional to take all necessary precautions to prevent misdiagnosis. If they fail to do so, they may face a misdiagnosis lawsuit.
What Is a Heart Attack?
Heart attacks happen when the blood flow to the heart is either greatly reduced or stopped completely. The heart is a muscle that requires oxygen-rich blood to do its job. Therefore, when its oxygen supply is lessened or cut off, it suffers a heart attack.
If the heart muscle is starved of oxygen and nutrients, this is called ischemia. The damage or death of the heart muscle from ischemia is a heart attack or myocardial infarction. The amount of damage that the heart suffers depends on both the size of the affected area and the delay between the attack and treatment.
There are two types of heart attacks: complete blockages and partial blockages. An ST-elevation myocardial infarction is a complete blockage. A non-ST elevation myocardial infarction is a partial blockage.
What Causes Heart Attacks?
Generally, heart attacks happen after one or more of the coronary arteries is blocked. The blockage can occur from fatty deposit buildup. Over time, this buildup creates plaques in the arteries, which cause them to narrow. Narrowing of the arteries is called atherosclerosis. The condition itself is called coronary artery disease, and it causes the majority of all heart attacks.
Another heart attack cause is the spasm of a coronary artery. The spasm shuts off the flow of blood to part of the heart, which results in a heart attack. Certain substances, such as tobacco and cocaine, can cause these spasms.
What Are the Symptoms of a Heart Attack?
Symptoms of a heart attack are crucial to understand and identify as soon as possible.
The major symptoms are as follows:
- Chest discomfort or chest pain. Most cases involve this pain happening either on the left side of the chest or in the center. The pain can either last for several minutes or fade and then return. Many describe the feeling as a pressure or a squeezing sensation in their chest.
- Weak feelings, light-headedness, and feeling faint. Some heart attack patients also experience a cold sweat.
- Discomfort or pain in the neck, back, jaw, arms, or shoulders.
- Shortness of breath. It can either happen at the same time as the chest pain or happen as a precursor.
- Muscle weakness
Other signs of heart attacks include tiredness, nausea, and vomiting. Women, however, can have little to no symptoms of a heart attack.
How Does Heart Attack Misdiagnosis Happen?
As with other cases of medical malpractice, there are a number of ways that physicians can contribute to delayed or missed diagnoses.
An undiagnosed heart attack can occur in the following ways.
- A doctor incorrectly diagnoses a different condition. Some examples are diagnosing respiratory illnesses or heartburn.
- Failure to recognize heart attack symptoms, particularly in women and young adults who exhibit different symptoms.
- Failure to order the appropriate medical tests.
- Misreading test results from an EKG, MRI, or other results.
- Failing to follow up on lab test results
If a doctor fails to order the appropriate tests, misses key symptoms, or fails to act on test results, this opens the door for a medical malpractice claim. Lipton Law stands ready to review your medical records with the help of an expert to determine whether or not your doctor or your loved one’s doctor was in the wrong.
What Happens if a Heart Attack Goes Untreated?
The longer a heart attack goes untreated, the more heart muscle damage occurs. Every minute that passes between the occurrence and treatment means the heart is losing muscle cells. That’s why it is so important for fast diagnosis and treatment. Doctors should focus on identifying the problem and restoring the flow of blood to the heart. The blood that flows to the heart is what carries nutrients and oxygen to supply the heart muscle. Heart attacks that are left untreated could result in heart failure later in life.
When Is Failure to Diagnose Considered Malpractice in Michigan?
Failure to diagnose is a common form of medical malpractice. If a healthcare practitioner fails to identify a set of symptoms pointing to a serious condition, this is medical negligence. Failing to recognize the signs of fatal or life-changing illnesses can greatly affect a patient’s life. Patients may endure significant pain and suffering before receiving a diagnosis. However, it’s important to remember that not every case like this warrants a lawsuit.
Certain situations do point to medical negligence, including:
- Not consulting with the patient about their symptoms
- Not investigating the cause of those reported symptoms
- Misinterpretation of results from laboratory tests
- Not referring the patient to a specialist based on their symptoms
- Missing the opportunity to screen for certain medical conditions
- Failing to follow up with the patient about their symptoms or condition
Who Is Responsible for a Heart Attack Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis?
Even though some people delay seeking medical attention, plenty of people do go to the hospital when they have serious symptoms. Many patients go to the emergency room for their symptoms. If an emergency room staff member fails to diagnose a heart attack, they may face malpractice claims. However, providers in other medical settings can also fail to diagnose a heart attack.
Examples of potentially liable parties include the following:
- Triage nurses
- ER doctors
- Consulting physician or cardiologist
- General practitioners
- Family doctors
- Urgent care providers
- Diagnostic professionals and lab technicians
What Are the Potential Consequences of a Heart Attack Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis?
Without immediate medical attention, a heart attack victim could suffer life-threatening heart damage. They could also experience the sudden death of parts of the heart muscle. Sudden muscle death could lead to a life of pain or disability for victims.
Other potential consequences of heart attacks include the following:
- Heart scarring and muscle death
- Permanent brain damage
- Wrongful death of the patient
- Readmission to the hospital for related complications
After a heart attack, many victims have severely weakened heart muscles. This weakness leads to difficulty getting blood pumped throughout the body. Additionally, many victims can no longer do the same level of work or physical activity that they once could. In more serious cases, they might not be able to work at all.
What Should I Do After a Heart Attack Misdiagnosis?
Patients that manage to recover from their heart attack can still suffer from physical, emotional, and financial difficulties. You might not think that your case warrants a lawsuit, so you might not even consider turning to a lawyer about your case. However, personal injury cases such as these have time limits. It’s important to take action sooner rather than later so that you don’t lose your opportunity for financial compensation. Speak with a Southfield medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible to avoid losing your right to compensation.
How Do You Prove Misdiagnosis?
Those looking to prove a misdiagnosis case must show certain elements in their case.
There are a number of ways to prove misdiagnosis, including:
- Show that a doctor in the same specialty or in a similar specialty would not have misdiagnosed those signs of illness.
- They must also show that their doctor did not include the proper diagnosis in the patient’s medical records and that a competent doctor would have included it.
- Additionally, the plaintiff could show that their doctor did list the correct diagnosis, but that they failed to order the appropriate tests to reach that diagnosis.
- A doctor-patient relationship existed between the plaintiff and the defendant.
- The doctor was negligent in their treatment of the patient, and that negligence caused injury to the patient.
- The injuries that the patient suffered resulted in monetary damages.
Compensation for Heart Attack Misdiagnosis
If your physician fails to identify and treat your heart attack, you may be entitled to compensation. Loved ones of deceased victims may also file claims on behalf of their lost loved ones.
The compensation you may be eligible for includes the following:
- Past, current, and future medical bills
- Medication costs
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Ongoing medical care costs
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of consortium
Southfield Missed Heart Attack Lawyers
If you or a loved one suffered a heart attack and your doctor failed to diagnose it, you deserve financial compensation for your losses. At Lipton Law, our Southfield personal injury lawyers have extensive experience handling medical malpractice cases. We will represent you in court and demand compensation for your injuries and losses. Call our office today at 248-557-1688 to schedule your free and confidential consultation.