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Preventing Misdiagnosis of Heart Attacks

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Every year, about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack. Unfortunately, as San Diego medical malpractice lawyers, we know that this serious condition is not always diagnosed properly, leading to critical delays in treatment that can sometimes have fatal results.

In fact, one in 50 patients suffering from a heart attack are mistakenly sent home by emergency room doctors, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. The problem is that not all patients exhibit the “classic” signs of a heart attack; therefore, unless the doctor completes a thorough screening, their condition can be misdiagnosed as heartburn or another more benign condition.

According to the American Heart Association, the following symptoms of a heart attack signal that immediate medical attention is required:

  • Chest discomfort: Heart attacks most often involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or goes away, but comes back. The discomfort can come in the form of pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Pain or discomfort in the upper body: Heart attack victims sometimes feel pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath: This symptom can come with or without chest discomfort.
  • Additional symptoms: Other warning signs of a heart attack include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or light-headedness.

If you suspect that a loved one may be suffering an undiagnosed heart attack, it is important to raise your concerns with health professionals as soon as possible. Keep track of all of the tests that are being performed and, if necessary, ask for a second opinion.

If you or someone you love has suffered from medical negligence, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.