Virginia Malpractice Claim for Failure to Diagnose a Heart Attack (Part A)

Did you suffer from a heart attack and believe you were misdiagnosed?

According to the American Heart Association (AHA) someone in the U.S. suffers a heart attack about every 34 seconds. This means that hundreds of thousands of Americans are rushed to the emergency room each year suffering a heart attack, and in some cases are turned away because of a misdiagnosis.

The sad truth is that many lives could have been saved if it weren't for negligent medical professionals either misdiagnosing a heart attack patient or dismissing the early warning signs and not taking precautions to prevent the heart attack. If you or a loved one are in this situation, you may have grounds for a Virginia medical malpractice claim.

Complications in Diagnosing a Heart Attack

A heart attack, also known as an acute myocardial infarction, is when the heart muscle does not receive adequate oxygen-rich blood because of a blockage in blood flow. This may be caused by a blood clot, atherosclerosis, or a coronary artery spasm. No matter what the cause, a heart attack can be deadly if not treated promptly.

The signs of a heart attack are sometimes mild and it can be difficult to pinpoint their cause. In most cases, a doctor must rely on the patient's description of symptoms to make a diagnosis. Many emergency rooms now have additional equipment, such as the cardiac sestamibi scanner, which allows doctors to visually monitor heart movement and blood flow.

Some of the symptoms of a heart attack include: 

  • chest discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts for a few minutes and fades
  • shortness of breath either during or before chest discomfort
  • discomfort in other areas of the upper body such as arms, neck, or jaw
  • cold sweats
  • nausea
  • light-headedness/dizzy spells. 

These symptoms are often mistaken for indicators of other less fatal conditions, thus the doctor may not consider them all together as indicative of a heart attack. If you were misdiagnosed, the doctor could be liable for medical malpractice. If you exhibited some of these signs and were not tested for, and diagnosed for a heart attack risk and were injured as a result, you may need to file a Virginia medical malpractice claim.

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Ben Glass
Ben Glass is a nationally recognized Virginia injury, medical malpractice, and long-term disability attorney