Heart attacks can be a wakeup call or they can be deadly. If handled quickly by a medical professional, many heart attacks can be treated effectively, adding years to an individual’s life. However, failure to diagnose, delayed diagnosis, and not getting to medical help in time can make treatment difficult. There are 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes in the US annually. Hundreds of thousands of people die and still more suffer from decreased quality of life and disability. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a failure to diagnose a heart condition, our Pittsburgh misdiagnosed heart attack lawyer may be able to help.
Plaque builds up in coronary arteries over time. Cholesterol, fat, and other substances make up this waxy substance that clings to the walls of our arteries and causes a buildup called atherosclerosis. When blood clots form around these areas, they can become caught in the artery, preventing blood flow to the heart. Just like a stroke prevents areas of the brain from receiving blood, a heart attack prevents the heart from receiving blood. Heart attacks can also happen if the coronary artery spasms, preventing blood flow or if the heart fails to pump an adequate supply of blood. This becomes a serious problem in the heart, because without blood flow, the coronary arteries and heart muscle will start to die. Risk factors play an important role in making an accurate heart attack diagnosis. Common risk factors for heart attacks include age, genetic predisposition, smoking, high cholesterol, a sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy weight, stress, and nutrition.
Symptoms of heart attacks include pain in the upper body including the chest, arms, upper abdomen, back, and jaw; shortness of breath; and an intense feeling of pressure or indigestion-like feelings in the chest. Less common symptoms to be aware of include: lightheadedness, sudden fatigue, clamminess or nausea
Symptoms of heart attacks vary between individuals, so a doctor needs to ask questions to learn about your medical history and risk factors. This is always a necessary part of the doctor’s evaluation of a potential heart condition. Unfortunately, small and careless medical mistakes are often to blame for medical negligence in heart attack cases. Sometimes doctors may dismiss heart attack symptoms as a benign spasm, gas pains, or anxiety. Without treatment, however, heart attack symptoms may worsen, causing preventable heart damage or death. In this case, a skilled heart attack lawyer may be able to bring a medical malpractice claim against the physician. Having an atypical medical history or being part of a group that does not typically suffer from heart attacks should not rule a heart attack out if the warning signs are present. Whether you are seen by a general practitioner, an ER physician, or another health care professional, full diagnostic testing should be conducted if the signs of heart attack are present. Failing to do so and dismissing the problem may be considered an act of malpractice.
Families should ask questions if a heart attack was not diagnosed in time or if a health care professional failed to act reasonably in light of the evidence. Sometimes, primary care doctors don’t refer their patients to a cardiologist for evaluation of a potential heart problem despite warning signs making it necessary for them to do so. If a cardiologist could have reasonably identified the condition, and possibly have prevented the heart attack or death from occurring, that may be malpractice by the primary care doctor. At Matzus Law, we handle Pennsylvania medical malpractice cases. We can help you determine if the treatment was appropriate or negligent. We only handle a select number of cases, and we fight hard for justice on the behalf of heart attack victims. By pursuing a medical malpractice claim you may prevent others from suffering the same fate you are forced to endure. Contact our office in Pittsburgh today for a free case evaluation.
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