A heart attack occurs in the US every 34 seconds, and an American dies from one every minute.
Heart disease is our nation’s number one killer. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately600,000 Americans diefrom heart disease annually; that’s one in four of all deaths nationwide. Unfortunately, there are times where heart attacks can be preventable but a misdiagnosis might have occurred. When this does happen, a qualified Phoenix heart attack lawyer can help you build a powerful case to hold your doctors accountable for their actions.
Not every heart attack is the painful, chest-clutching event portrayed in the media. Women, especially, tend to manifest different symptoms—often extreme fatigue, indigestion, neck, jaw, and back pain, nausea, vomiting, and light-headedness— resulting in their heart attacks going undiagnosed or wrongly diagnosed as a digestive problem. Every doctor needs to be aware of the various different symptoms that may indicate a heart attack in progress, and should be especially aware of sex-related differences in presenting complaints.
The Incidence of Heart Attack Misdiagnosis
While most emergency room physicians are competent and careful to fully evaluate all symptoms and take a medical history to uncover heart attack risk factors, research published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that one in every 50 heart attack victims visiting an emergency room with heart attack symptoms is erroneously send home. These errors made by emergency room physicians can drastically affect the patient’s health outcome. Many of these are either women or younger people. With today’s epidemic of obesity, risk factors for heart disease are showing up in ever increasing numbers of younger Americans, previously thought to be at low risk for heart attack.
Heart attacks may be misdiagnosed as heartburn, acid reflux, anxiety, peptic ulcer, gallstones, bronchitis, pneumonia, or muscle strain. When a diagnosis is missed, death or permanent damage to the heart may result.
Common Heart Attack Misdiagnoses
If a heart attack isn’t treated within an hour of the onset of symptoms, permanent damage may result, including heart-tissue damage and scarring that compromises the heart’s ability to pump effectively. A misdiagnosis of a critical heart attack may be fatal. Sadly, doctors sometimes misdiagnose common and uncommon heart attack symptoms as other maladies, especially when they present in those who aren’t considered the typical heart attack victim, including women, young adults, and children. Some of the most common misdiagnoses of heart attacks include mistakenly identifying a heart attack as:
Panic attacks or anxiety attacks
Studies show that heart attack symptoms in women are less likely to be taken seriously compared to similar symptoms presenting in men, sometimes resulting in doctors who do not order adequate tests to evaluate heart function.
When Missing a Heart Attack Diagnosis is Medical Malpractice
A doctor in Arizona who fails to diagnose a heart attack in progress may be found liable for medical malpractice. Heart attack is such a common and serious occurrence that every emergency physician is expected to know the various symptoms and procedures to follow when these symptoms appear. Failing to follow proper procedure may be a breach of the standard of care that any reasonable Arizona physician is expected to deliver.
If you or someone you love suffered a heart attack that was misdiagnosed, resulting in worsening health or wrongful death, you may be able to recover monetary compensation for your damages by filing a medical malpractice action against the doctor or hospital that made the error. However, you should be aware that all medical malpractice law suits are complex and challenging in Arizona, requiring the services of a Phoenix medical malpractice attorney with extensive and specific experience in pursuing malpractice claims. An expert Phoenix heart attack lawyer should:
Understand medical terminology
Be familiar with standards of medical practice in Arizona
Understand what diagnostic tests and medical procedures are available to identify heart attacks
Have access to expert medical professionals who can review medical records, testify regarding standards of care, and provide assistance in the preparation of your case, supporting and documenting your claim
Have a record of obtaining significant medical malpractice recovery awards for clients
How Can a Lawyer Help Your Case?
The Phoenix heart attack lawyers at the law firm of Knapp & Roberts can help craft a compelling case for liability on the part of the medical professionals who misdiagnosed or failed to diagnose a heart attack. By scrutinizing medical records and reports, hiring medical experts to review your unique case, and investigating the circumstances to identify the liable party, an experienced lawyer can maximize the damages you’ll recover. Your attorney will use the following points to prove the at-fault party’s liability for your damages:
Show that a doctor/patient relationship of trust was in play at the time of the misdiagnosis
Show that the provider owed you or your loved one a duty to provide care that meets the medical standards or that another reasonable physician would have provided in the same circumstances
Show that the provider failed to uphold or breached their duty through negligence
Show that the breach of duty directly caused harm through delayed treatment
Show that the injury caused to the patient resulted in significant economic and non-economic damages or wrongful death
A skilled Phoenix medical malpractice lawyer will draft a strong demand letter to the at-fault provider’s medical malpractice insurance to secure full compensation for your damages or be prepared to argue the case in court if an acceptable settlement agreement isn’t reached.
What Types of Compensation Are Available for a Misdiagnosed Heart Attack?
Failing to promptly diagnose a heart attack delays the proper treatment, resulting in heart damage, complications, and sometimes death. If you or a loved one suffered because a physician failed to request the proper diagnostic tests or misread or disregarded your complaints and symptoms, then they are liable for damages. You could recover compensation for the following economic and non-economic damages:
Medical expenses and future expenses for ongoing medical care
Lost paychecks and diminished earning capacity
Pain and suffering
If the delayed treatment caused the death of a loved one, then the medical malpractice case becomes a wrongful death claim brought by a close family member. Wrongful death claims could also recover:
Lost earnings from the number of working years that would have remained to the decedent
Lost benefits, including healthcare and retirement
When a heart attack and preventable heart damage impact an entire family, the physician that didn’t provide the proper care must compensate for the failure through a full monetary payout for damages.
Legal Counsel for Heart Attack Malpractice in Phoenix, AZ
If you are a Phoenix area resident and feel that you or a family member has suffered from a missed heart attack diagnosis or other medical error, you will find the experienced legal representation you’re looking for at the law firm of Knapp & Roberts. Our top-rated Phoenix injury attorneys have recovered millions of dollars for clients in many types of medical malpractice actions. We work with respected physicians and other medical experts who assist in our investigation of your situation and help us document the proof of malpractice needed to obtain a settlement or judgment in your favor.
At Knapp & Roberts PLC, we are passionate about improving outcomes for Arizona patients by forcing negligent, careless, and incompetent doctors and hospitals to take responsibility and be held accountable for their wrongdoing. A trusted Phoenix heart attack attorney at our Arizona medical malpractice law firm is committed to justice for those whose trust in a member of the medical profession has been violated, or who have lost their lives or their health because of the incompetence of professionals.
The Consultation is Free, and You Don’t Pay Unless We Win
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The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona, at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.