Failure to Diagnose Heart Attack

A myocardial infarction, the medical term for a heart attack, results when the blood supply to part of the heart muscle is severely reduced or limited due to a blocked coronary artery supplying blood to the heart muscle.  Many heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort.  While it is hoped that the care providers will be able to make the proper diagnosis when you get to the emergency room, too frequently a heart attack is misdiagnosed as heartburn, indigestion or some other ailment.   Failure to diagnose a heart attack can lead to discharge of patients who should be admitted.

Patients who are mistakenly not admitted to the hospital have nearly twice the risk of dying as patients who are properly diagnosed. There are tests available to readily detect a heart attack. Special electrocardiograph studies readily can show a heart attack. Enzyme level blood tests can disclose damage to the heart muscle. Arterial blood gas studies can also help diagnose the ailment. The reason prompt diagnosis is critical is that thrombolytic therapy to stop blood clots, when done in the first hour after a heart attack, can significantly improve survival and patient outcome.

If you believe a failure to promptly diagnose a heart attack may constitute malpractice, take steps to contact one of our attorneys today.