A missed or delayed diagnosis of a heart attack can lead to serious complications, and even death. If you or a loved one has suffered adverse health consequences due to a medical professional’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your harm. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our skilled Rochester medical malpractice attorneys have extensive experience in this area of law and can help you understand your rights. Time is of the essence in these cases, so it is vital to contact an attorney as soon as you suspect malpractice.A heart attack takes place when the blood supply to part of the heart muscle itself is severely reduced or stopped. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an individual dies from a heart attack every 40 seconds in the United States. Approximately 20 percent of cardiac incidents are categorized as “silent,” meaning the victim does not even know the heart attack took place, although the body is dealing with the detrimental effects. In addition, about 1.5 million heart attacks take place in the country each year, and studies show that about 11,000 cases are not diagnosed properly, resulting in unnecessary deaths.
Doctors and other medical professionals are trained to recognize the signs of a heart attack. A failure to diagnose a heart attack often involves a failure to properly identify the symptoms or a failure to order tests when those symptoms are present. Many people who experience chest pain or other classic indicators of a heart attack often seek help in the nearest emergency room. Emergency rooms see a high volume of patients in stressful environments, which can often lead to errors, especially when patients are exhibiting atypical symptoms of a heart attack. A delayed or missed diagnosis of a heart attack can lead to serious brain damage, severe physical impairments, and even death.
If a medical professional failed to diagnose a heart attack, the victim can potentially file a medical malpractice claim against the at-fault party. Medical malpractice takes place when there is an act or omission by a physician during the treatment of a patient that deviates from accepted norms of practice in the medical community, thereby causing an injury to the patient. In order to establish malpractice, the plaintiff is required to demonstrate the following elements: i) the medical professional owed the patient a duty of care; ii) the medical professional breached the duty of care owed to the plaintiff by failing to diagnose a heart attack; and iii) the medical professional’s breach was a direct cause of the patient’s harm.