Medical malpractice claims due to negligence in treating a possible heart attack are the subject of significant litigation. Degree of chest pain is not always a good indicator of whether a patient seen in the emergency department of a hospital has experienced a myocardial infarction – a heart attack, or how much damage to the heart muscle has occurred. According to a recent study, severe chest pain is not always associated with worse outcomes.
Failure to consider various signs and symptoms in the diagnosis and early treatment of a heart attack is a significant factor in medical malpractice litigation. We have represented many patients that have experienced cardiac like symptoms and have been seen in doctor’s offices and hospital emergency rooms and were not properly worked up or treated. A differential diagnosis must always include myocardial infarction when a patient presents with certain signs and symptoms including chest pain and shortness of breath. However, it is also important that doctors recognize that symptoms can be nonspecific for any one condition. If they are nonspecific then it is not acceptable to ignore other potentially life threatening conditions or to work up a patient for the “easy diagnosis or answer” and ignore and delay a work-up for other life threatening conditions at the same time.
We have seen situations where doctors assume that the patient’s symptoms are due to “A” and go down that path to rule in or rule out “A” and take a back seat to other doctors’ evaluations and ignore or delay consideration of “B” and “C” and by the time “A” is ruled out, it is too late to treat “B” and “C.” This is not acceptable or standard of care and can lead to deadly yet avoidable outcomes. For more information on this topic, visit our resources and verdicts and settlements at https://www.mishkindlaw.com