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American Heart Month: Misdiagnosis Top Medical Error in Cardiology

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. To mark February as American Heart Month, we would like to remind our readers that heart-healthy behavior, such as eating right and exercising, can help reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke.

Of course, many Americans will still require medical intervention to treat a heart condition. As with any medical specialty, medical errors are common in cardiology. In fact, heart medications have historically been associated with medication mistakes.

A recent study examined the causes of medical errors in cardiology. An examination of 429 cardiology-related medical malpractice claims that reached a resolution between 2007 and 2013 revealed that the most common patient allegations included:

  • Misdiagnosis: Wrong, delayed and failure to diagnose claims were the most prevalent, accounting for 25 percent of all claims.
  • Improper management of treatment: Erroneous decisions about therapeutic measures resulted in 14 percent of the malpractice claims.
  • Improper performance of treatment or procedure: Treatment errors that resulted in hematomas, retroperitoneal bleeding, cardiac tamponade, punctured external iliac artery, aortic laceration from cardiac catheterization, and esophageal perforation during transesophageal echocardiogram accounted for 12 percent of the claims.
  • Improper performance of surgery: In total, 11 percent of the claims involved surgical errors, including arterial injury during mitral valve repair, incorrectly placed leads, and infections from pacemaker implantation.
  • Improper medication management: Medication mistakes, such as improperly monitoring and managing anticoagulants, were cited in 6 percent of the claims.

As San Diego medical malpractice lawyers, the results are not surprising. Last year, the Institute of Medicine reported that most Americans will suffer from at least one wrong or delayed medical diagnosis during their lifetime. In addition, an estimated 1.3 million people are injured annually in the United States due to medication errors.

If you or someone you care about has suffered serious harm due to a cardiology-related medical error, you may be entitled to compensation, such as pain and suffering damages and reimbursement of medical expenses. For more information, please contact a San Diego medical malpractice lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.