Prompt Diagnosis and Treatment of Heart Attack Key to Survival

Nearly 14 million Americans have experienced a heart attack. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, coronary disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States. Yet, one in 50 heart attack victims are misdiagnosed by emergency room physicians and sent home. Failure to diagnose a heart attack may occur even though the patient describes the known warning signs of a heart attack: shortness of breath, chest pain, tightness in the chest, blurred vision, or an irregular heart beat. Failure to diagnose and promptly treat often results in death or severe disability. Once it is determined a patient is suffering a heart attack, prompt medical action is required to prevent further damage or death. Such medical actions may include giving oxygen to the patient, administering clot busting drugs such as tPA, emergency angioplasty or coronary artery bypass surgery. Failure to diagnose a heart attack or failure to intervene medically may lead to irreversible heart damage, stroke, or death. In my years as a medical malpractice attorney, I’ve represented clients whose treating physicians failed to properly diagnose a heart attack as well as those who were not treated promptly.