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Woman Recovering After Delayed Diagnosis of “Widow Maker” Heart Condition


One moment, a woman was working out on the treadmill in an effort to lose weight; the next, she was fighting for her life due to an undiagnosed medical condition that affected her heart health. The American Heart Association (AHA) reported on the incident in a January 2, 2020 article, mentioning that the “widow maker” – a blockage in the left anterior descending artery – might have led to heart attack or sudden death for the 32-year-old mother of three.

Fortunately, a cardiologist caught the condition and was able to correct it through a balloon angioplasty and placement of two stents. However, the outcome for other patients can be tragic when a doctor fails to properly diagnose a critical medical condition that could be fatal when left untreated. If you have concerns or believe you’ve been in a similar situation, you should reach out to a Florida misdiagnosis attorney right away. In addition, it may be helpful to review some important information.

Potential Medical Malpractice Claims: The AHA story ended on a happy note, as the woman received the medical treatment needed to avoid problems with the blockage in her heart. Though she ultimately avoided long-term harm, she did suffer tremendously during the 2-3 years of treatment following her delayed diagnosis. The woman may have a claim for misdiagnosis, a type of medical malpractice, by showing:

  1. The existence of a doctor-patient relationship
  2. The physician didn’t conform to medically acceptable standards of care in making – or missing – a diagnosis
  3. The breach was a direct cause of bodily harm
  4. She suffered losses as a result of the diagnosis error

Key Components in a Misdiagnosis Case: Most claims for medical malpractice will hinge on factors #2 and #3, since a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis is not per se evidence of negligence. Well-seasoned, experienced doctors also make diagnostic errors, since the human body is a vastly complicated machine. The key is whether the physician complied with the standard of care another doctor would have provided in offering treatment.

Exams and Screenings are Essential for Proper Diagnoses: The woman featured in the AHA article mentioned that she believed physicians didn’t diagnose the “widow maker” heart condition because they didn’t conduct proper screenings. Though she was just 32 years old, providers should have taken note of her family history – which indicated that her grandfather died of a heart attack and an uncle passed after complications from open-heart surgery. Instead, they relied on a chest x-ray and electrocardiogram that didn’t appear to reveal any problems.

Talk to a Florida Misdiagnosis and Medical Malpractice Lawyer About Your Concerns 

At Freidin Brown, P.A., our Miami misdiagnosis attorneys have extensive experience and a specific focus in medical malpractice cases, including claims of misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a medical condition. Not all situations involving diagnosis errors are actionable, however. As such, it’s important for us to review your circumstances thoroughly to determine your legal rights and remedies. We can get started right away by conducting a case evaluation, so please contact our offices to set up a free consultation today.




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