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Heart Attack Misdiagnosis: What Is The Harm To Patients?


Commonly known as a “heart attack”, a myocardial infarction occurs when one or more areas of the heart do not get enough oxygen most often due to a blockage of blood flow from a clot. Without oxygen, the muscles deteriorate and die. Irreversible damage may occur within 30 minutes of the formation of the clot, so quick action is essential. Fortunately, the outlook is good for many patients who receive a prompt diagnosis. The Heart.org website provides some helpful information on how physicians treat the condition, as well as details on what procedures, medications, and other care might be necessary for the future.

Of course, the critical first step is getting an accurate diagnosis within the 30-minute window of opportunity. Health care providers cannot embark on the right course of treatment without these details, and the damaged parts of the patient’s heart may never work properly again. If you have concerns, it is important to discuss them with a Miami heart attack malpractice lawyer. A misdiagnosis is a form of medical malpractice, for which you may qualify for monetary damages. Some background information is also useful.

Mistakes with Heart Attack Diagnosis

When a health care provider treats someone for myocardial infarction, it is usually because the patient presents with chest pain, tightness, and related symptoms. The problem is that some of the signs of heart attack overlap with non-cardiac chest pain. To draw the distinction and make a correct diagnosis, physicians must investigate further by ordering appropriate tests. The most common tests include coronary angiography, EKG, MRI, and carotid ultrasound.

Failure to order appropriate tests and lab screenings can lead to misdiagnose or delays, and there may be additional issues if the physician does not correctly act upon the results. A heart attack may be misdiagnosed as another medical condition, such as:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), familiarly known as acid reflux or heartburn
  • Angina
  • Pneumonia
  • Panic attack
  • Bronchitis

Four Things to Know About Claims of Cardiac Related Malpractice

You may qualify to pursue a medical malpractice claim if you suffered injuries due to errors in treating your heart attack. These cases are complicated, but there are a few key points you should know:

  1. To prevail in a medical malpractice claim, you must have evidence showing that you were harmed because a health care provider deviated from accepted medical standards.
  2. Florida’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is 2 years, but it can be extended up to 4 years if you did not discover the harm right away.
  3. A pre-suit investigation is necessary before you can file a lawsuit in court, and you must obtain a sworn statement from a doctor indicating that there are reasonable grounds for filing a claim.
  4. Damages in medical malpractice claims include medical costs, lost wages, and noneconomic damages for suffering, and emotional distress.

Our Florida Medical Malpractice Attorneys Will Assist with Remedies

To learn more about your legal options under Florida medical malpractice laws, please contact Freidin Brown, P.A. We can schedule a free consultation at our offices in Miami or Fort Myers to discuss your potential claim.

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