Most people are apprehensive about going to an emergency department or emergency room at a hospital. So when someone actually does go, there is usually a good reason. One particularly good reason is when a patient goes to an emergency department or emergency room for a suspected heart attack. A patient expects to get immediate and competent treatment to minimize the harm a heart attack can cause.
Indeed, this is important. Most heart attacks must be treated within an hour of onset to avoid causing serous trauma to the heart. While over an hour will usually result in scarring and death of some heart tissue, even under an hour can cause such damage if the heart attack is a massive or very severe one. If there is a failure to timely do so, not only can permanent damage be caused but also death.
Thus, when an emergency department staff fails to listen to a patient’s complaints properly and assess a possible heart attack, this can be medical malpractice. There could be many other diagnoses that may appear like a benign condition such as heartburn, but it could actually be a heart attack. Therefore, a medical staff must perform all of the proper tests and not cut corners to diagnose a heart attack and rule out other less-dangerous conditions.
Some common causes for misdiagnosing a hearth attack include the following:
- Incorrectly diagnosing the heart attack as something such as heartburn or muscle cramps;
- Failing to perform an EKG or MRI;
- Misreading EKG or MRI results;
- Failing to order blood tests and other lab tests to confirm a diagnose or to rule out other conditions;
- Failing to follow up on results;
- Failing to ask the correct questions to reveal the symptoms of a heart attack;
- Leaving or forgetting a patient complaining of chest pain in the waiting room or in a hospital room too long without treatment;
- Failing to properly triage a patient possibly suffering from a heart attack;
- Discharging a possible victim of a heart attack too early; and
- Many other mistakes.
The failure to properly diagnose a heart attack can easily lead to permanent damage and very serious injuries to a victim. It can also lead to death, or a shortened life expectancy. When properly diagnosed and timely treated, a heart attack can cause little if any damage. But any delay in getting to the hospital and a delay at the hospital in properly treating and diagnosing the heart attack and be absolutely devastating, fatal, and medical malpractice.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.