Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States. About one in every five deaths take place due to a heart attack. Sadly, many of these deaths occur because a doctor failed to diagnose or treat the condition properly. This is especially true in emergency room settings, where it is extremely busy and medical professionals are juggling many different things at the same time. If you or a loved one has suffered a heart attack due to a medical professional’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your harm. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our seasoned Rochester medical malpractice attorneys understand this area of law and can apply our knowledge to use in your case.
A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that after malpractice caps were implemented, doctors ordered fewer invasive tests to diagnose heart attacks. A research team from George Washington University highlighted how in nine states that adopted medical malpractice caps, doctors ordered 24 percent fewer angiographies as a first test than doctors in 20 states without such caps. Doctors in states that adopted a damages cap also ordered 21 percent fewer coronary angiographies as a follow up and 23 percent fewer coronary procedures, such as stenting, which some researchers believe is an overused procedure.
Doctors often report to practicing defensive medicine to reduce malpractice risk. In other words, doctors often conduct tests simply to reduce the risk of being sued, rather than because they genuinely believe those tests are necessary. The study is important because it shows that reducing malpractice risk is associated with clinical decisions involving coronary artery disease testing and treatment. While overall testing rates did not change, the kind of tests that doctors ordered did change. In sum, doctors tolerate greater clinical uncertainty in coronary artery disease testing and treatment if they face lower malpractice risks.
Timely diagnosis and treatment of a heart attack is critical to reduce the risk of serious medical complications or death. Heart attack symptoms can be ambiguous, and sometimes patients exhibit atypical symptoms, which is why doctors must take great care when diagnosing a potential heart attack. Many physicians fail to fully examine a patient suffering from symptoms such as chest pain, upper body pain, shortness of breath, or extreme fatigue and end up making the wrong diagnosis. As mentioned above, many different tests can be used to diagnose a heart attack. Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional fails to adhere to the standard of care that a reasonably competent medical professional would have used in the same or a similar situation, thereby injuring the patient.
If you believe that you or a family member was harmed by a delayed or missed diagnosis of a heart attack, you need to reach out to a skilled Rochester medical malpractice attorney who can help. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, we can examine the facts of your case and inform you of your legal rights and options. Call us today at 315-479-9000 or contact us online for a free claim evaluation.
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