A heart attack (or “myocardial infarction”) can be a terrifying and life-changing event. Well over one million people have heart attacks across the United States every year, and a number of these incidents could’ve been prevented with earlier investigation, diagnosis, and treatment by the healthcare team. These mistakes can happen with misinterpretation of EKGs, failure to implement chest pain protocols by any member of the healthcare team, to erroneously believing the patient is just having heartburn, to not acting promptly enough to treat a diagnosed heart attack.
No matter which situation applies, you could have the legal right to pursue a claim for the negligent management of a heart attack. The medical provider or facility should be held accountable if they were negligent. The New Mexico medical malpractice lawyers at Poulos & Coates, LLP, can help you determine your best course of legal action.
Complications of a Delayed Diagnosis
When health problems are diagnosed timely and correctly, that results in more timely medical care. Such a patient usually has a better prognosis. However, delayed diagnosis can be devastating and sometimes even fatal. Some people think a delayed diagnosis is reserved for conditions like cancer. Unfortunately, a delayed diagnosis can affect your health in many medical conditions, including heart attack, stroke, infection, blood clots/DVT, cancer, and more.
If you suffered a heart attack because a medical provider failed to diagnose or treat your condition timely, you need to speak with a skilled medical malpractice attorney.
New Mexico Heart Attack Misdiagnosis
Every year, thousands of people are misdiagnosed when they suffer heart attack symptoms. This problem usually happens when primary care doctors or emergency room physicians don’t take your symptoms seriously enough. Failure to properly diagnose a heart attack can have catastrophic results, including death.
It’s not uncommon for symptoms of a mild heart attack to mimic other conditions, leading to misdiagnosis. Some of the most common misdiagnoses include heartburn, acid reflux, anxiety attacks, and even bronchitis.
Medical professionals can use several different tests to help diagnose underlying heart conditions, such as blood tests, chest X-rays, MRIs, catheterization, and echocardiography. Some of these tests are expensive, which is why doctors try to avoid using them. Unfortunately, their desire to save money can lead to deadly results for you or someone you love.
There is also the less common scenario where a doctor says you had a heart attack and you didn’t. They might prescribe a treatment regimen and medication that you should not be taking. Being placed on heart medications when you don’t have an underlying condition can lead to other health issues and complications. You could also develop new health problems that you would never have had if not for the wrong prescription medication, as some medicines have long-term side effects.
If you or a loved one is the victim of a New Mexico heart attack misdiagnosis, let the experienced legal team at Poulos & Coates LLP help.
Undiagnosed Heart Disease
Failure to properly diagnose underlying heart disease can lead to a heart attack misdiagnosis down the line. Undiagnosed heart disease can lead to a hazardous situation where you have a heart attack that could’ve been prevented. Proper care and treatment can help diagnose possibly deadly conditions such as:
- Coronary artery disease,
- Heart attacks,
- Aortic aneurysms,
- Congestive heart failure,
- Heart infections,
- Arrhythmia, and
- Valvular heart disease.
If you suspect you have heart problems, don’t give up if one doctor dismisses your concerns. Visit another doctor to get a second opinion, which could ultimately help save your life.
Common Causes of a Heart Attack Misdiagnosis
There are numerous other reasons a misdiagnosis could happen. Some of the most common reasons are as follows.
You Displayed Minor Symptoms
Some plaintiffs have a mild heart attack, but the physical symptoms are so minor that doctors do not believe there was any possibility of a heart attack. If you only display one or two symptoms, your doctor may never consider checking for a heart attack.
EKG is Normal
Sometimes you can have a heart attack, but the EKG comes back normal. EKG stands for electrocardiogram, and it’s the standard test that most emergency room doctors use to diagnose a heart attack. An EKG displays your heart’s electrical impulse activity on a monitor. If it comes back normal, many doctors may assume there is no heart attack and start looking at other potential conditions. It’s not unheard of for an EKG to show normal shortly after a heart attack, which is why doctors shouldn’t rely on the results 100% of the time.
You Are the Atypical Patient
While not appropriate, some medical providers tend to stereotype patients when it comes to heart attacks. If you are an older man with a documented history of heart issues or other related conditions, they are more likely to take your complaints and symptoms seriously. If you are a younger female and generally healthy, the doctor may immediately dismiss your complaints and concerns about a heart attack.
What Types of Damages Are Available in a Misdiagnosed Heart Attack Case?
If you are the victim of a heart attack misdiagnosis, you could be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries and damages. Potential damages include:
- Past, current, and future medical expenses;
- Loss of earnings to date;
- Loss of earning capacity;
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation;
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Pain and suffering; and
- Loss of companionship.
If you lose a loved one due to a heart attack misdiagnosis, you may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim.
Recoverable damages will vary in every case based on your circumstances. Medical malpractice cases are notoriously challenging to pursue, which is why you need a skilled legal advocate on your side. At Poulos & Coates LLP, we will ensure you are demanding compensation for all damages you’re entitled to receive.
Contact a New Mexico Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one suffered damages due to a heart attack misdiagnosis, contact Poulos & Coates, LLP, today to schedule an initial consultation. Our attorneys have over 70 years of combined experience helping clients just like you. We are the only law firm in New Mexico that focuses solely on medical malpractice cases. Let us put our knowledge and expertise to work for you. We are committed to getting compensation for victims of medical malpractice. To date, we’ve recovered over 100 million dollars for our clients. Schedule a meeting with us today, and learn more about how we can help you.