Seattle Heart Attack Misdiagnosis Lawyers
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When the symptoms of a heart attack (Myocardial Infarction or MI) are not diagnosed quickly and correctly, there can be tragic consequences. Testing and an accurate diagnosis can save the life of the patient. Emergency room doctors face unimaginable challenges every day, but this does not excuse a medical error that leads to death or permanent disability.
At Hardwick & Pendergast, we serve as counsel in cases involving a heart attack misdiagnosis. With over four decades practicing medical malpractice law, and an extensive record of successful injury cases, you can trust our Washington heart attack misdiagnosis attorneys to help you pursue justice in a case of misdiagnosis.
The symptoms of a heart attack are distinct, and any person presenting these symptoms must be evaluated at once to determine if the patient is suffering a heart attack – this is the accepted standard of care. Patients who arrive at the emergency room who are having a heart attack have often been misdiagnosed, and sent home without treatment or proper testing, with tragic results.
Heart Attack Symptoms
According to the Mayo Clinic, the typical symptoms of a heart attack can include:
- Chest pain, discomfort
- Pain in upper body
- Stomach pain similar to heartburn
- Shortness of breath
- Feelings of anxiety or panic
- Nausea, vomiting
Women may experience different symptoms than men, including:
- Symptoms similar to heartburn, sharp, burning
- Fluttering feelings in chest
- Sudden weakness or paralysis
- Trouble speaking, confusion
- Vision problems
- Sudden severe headache
- Unusual level of fatigue
Heart Attack Tests: What is the Standard?
If a person arrives at the ER with the symptoms of heart attack, medical professionals are required to take specific actions. The patient is asked to describe the symptoms, which can be difficult. Blood pressure, pulse and temperature will be evaluated. A heart monitor must be attached to help to determine if a heart attack is occurring. Other testing procedures include an electrocardiogram (ECG), blood tests to identify enzymes that may be present in the blood in a heart attack, chest X-rays, an echocardiogram to spot heart damage, or coronary catheterization (angiogram), in which dye is inserted into the arteries to reveal any blockage.
Unfortunately, many people who visit the ER with the symptoms of a heart attack are not tested as they should have been, and were misdiagnosed as having a panic attack, anxiety, heartburn or other condition. Without proper testing, symptoms can be similar – but the outcome will be far, far different. If you or a loved one went to the ER complaining of any of these symptoms, and were discharged with a wrong diagnosis and later died or suffered serious medical problems, it is time to take legal action.
The correct response for the Emergency Department is often a cardiology consult. Sometimes, a specialist in cardiology is necessary to accurately diagnose a myocardial infarction. The gold standard for diagnosis of heart attack or “MI” has been determination of: 1) ischemic symptoms, 2) electrocardiographic changes, and 3) elevated creatine kinase-MB levels. Presence of any two indicate a myocardial infarction. With the advent of testing for troponin and more accurate CK-MB testing, an impending heart attack can now be diagnosed earlier.
Women More Often Misdiagnosed for Heart Attack
The heart attack symptoms for women appear to have led to higher rates of misdiagnosis, fewer tests being performed, and other errors. The Journal of American Cardiology reports that angiograms are performed at a significantly lower rates on women patients, and higher numbers of women are re-hospitalized after initial testing. Women appear to be at higher risk of being misdiagnosed for heart attack.
Were You or Your Loved One Misdiagnosed for a Heart Attack?
A heart attack misdiagnosis can be fatal, or lead to serious medical complications that could have been avoided. Your heart, to survive, must be consistently receiving oxygen. When the blood flow is restricted and the oxygen cannot reach the heart muscle, the heart is damaged and portions will no longer perform. The heart can be permanently affected in a heart attack that is not treated quickly and correctly, with various symptoms, including:
- Edema (fluid buildup and swelling in extremities and lower back)
- Ascites (swelling in abdomen)
- Shortness of breath while performing normal tasks, or while at rest
- Wheezing, coughing
- Abnormal fatigue
- Angina (chest pain)
- Muscular damage with low ejection fraction
Legal Help for Cases of Heart Attack Misdiagnosis in Seattle, Washington
If you or a loved one was misdiagnosed for a heart attack, the Washington medical malpractice lawyers at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S.are here to help. Our legal team has four decades serving in cases of medical malpractice, and has exceptional knowledge and experience in these difficult legal cases. We have established important professional resources in the medical field to call upon to provide evidence to support a case against a hospital, physician, clinic or other medical professional or facility. You can get more information from us through our online form, or by contacting us directly at (888) 228-3860.
- Who is At Fault for a Seattle Misdiagnosed Heart Attack?
- Heart Attack Symptoms: Know What's a Medical Emergency
- Diagnosing a Heart Attack
- Myocardial Infarction
- Heart Attack Information from the CDC