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How Florida Physicians Misdiagnose Heart Attack in Women


This past October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month brought massive attention to this horrible disease, so it comes as a shock to many people that the number one killer of women in the US is heart disease. Most physicians are aware of the statistics, which is why it’s surprising to learn that many health care providers overlook the signs of heart attack in women. In Circulation, a publication of the American Heart Association, researchers revealed that female patients are often misdiagnosed when experiencing an acute myocardial infarction – i.e., a heart attack. As you’d expect, the result of errors in diagnosing an AMI can be tragic.

There are many reasons a physician may make critical mistakes with diagnoses, but many are preventable. If you suffered injuries under such circumstances, talk to a Miami medical misdiagnosis attorney who can explain the details. Some basic information on your rights may also be helpful. 

How Doctors Spot the Signs of a Heart Attack: An AMI is a sudden episode of coronary thrombosis, which can result in permanent destruction of heart tissue. In other words, a blood vessel in the heart sustains blockage, preventing proper functioning of your circulatory system. When it occurs, a physician should first note the most common symptom of heart attack, which is a crushing sensation in the chest or extreme chest pain – typically on the left side.

However, there are additional symptoms of an AMI that may occur in addition to – or in the absence of – chest pain. Examples include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • General weakness
  • Pain in the jaw, back, or shoulder
  • Profuse sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting

Special Challenges Women Face in Heart Attack Diagnosis: In reviewing the above symptoms of AMI, you can see that they could apply to a wide range of ailments. If they’re not accompanied by chest pain, a physician may not conduct additional testing or dig deeper into the patient’s medical history. Women in particular are more likely to suffer, as the Circulation article points out. Almost 62 percent of women who experienced an AMI presented with three or more pain symptoms that were NOT chest pain. Instead of providing treatment for a heart attack, a doctor may err in diagnosing the woman with:

  • Acid reflux or heartburn
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Angina
  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia or influenza
  • Anxiety

Complications from Misdiagnosis of Heart Attack: When a patient is sent away without proper treatment for AMI, there’s a high risk of permanent heart damage and death in the short term. Even if the person survives, heart tissue has been severely damaged. Improper care due to misdiagnosis of AMI increases the chance of experiencing a second event, and can lead to permanent disability.

Get Legal Help from a Miami Diagnosis Errors Lawyer 

To learn more about your legal remedies as the victim of a misdiagnosed heart attack, please contact Freidin Brown, P.A. to set up a free consultation at our offices in Miami or Fort Myers. One of our Miami misdiagnosis attorneys can review your circumstances and determine the best way to proceed with your claim.




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