Failure to Diagnose a Heart Attack
The South Carolina medical malpractice attorneys at Lofton & Lofton are respected leaders in personal injury law. Since 1984, we have helped victims injured by medical malpractice arising from causes such as failure to diagnosis heart attacks and cardiac arrest. We know that you depend on physicians to properly detect symptoms of serious illness. That is why Lofton & Lofton remains dedicated to helping victims injured by negligence.
Failure to Diagnose a Heart Attack
A heart attack is often the result of cardiovascular disease. Blockage of the coronary artery thickens the vessel bringing oxygen to the heart, forming dangerous clots. When the heart is deprived of oxygen, it can no longer pump blood to the rest of the body, causing an attack. During an attack, the heart cells actually die, releasing proteins into the blood. Timely diagnosis of heart disease is necessary to prevent an attack. Common signs of cardiovascular problems include:
- Chest pains
- High cholesterol
- Excessive weight
- Heart palpitations
- Irregular heartbeat
- Numbness in arms
- Difficulty breathing
- Unexplained fatigue
- High blood pressure
- Diabetic neuropathy
These symptoms can be easily diagnosed in a normal physical measuring blood pressure and heartbeat. A proper assessment requires obtaining the patient’s medical history, which may indicate a propensity for heart disease. In addition to being the body’s most important pump, the heart is also its largest conductor. An electrocardiogram graphically charts the heart’s electrical activity, showing abnormalities caused by damage. Blood tests also detect irregular levels of proteins and enzymes in the bloodstream. This is essential to properly confirming or ruling out early stages of disease that eventually send the patient to the emergency room.
Diagnosis by Other Means
A variety of tests are available to diagnose a heart attack. In addition to the screening above, doctors can also prevent an attack through:
- Serum tests
- Chest X-rays
- CT scans or MRIs
- Exercise stress tests
- Prescription anticoagulants
- Injection of clot-dissolving agents
- Insertion of catheter in blood vessels
- Angiography (injecting dye into arteries)
- Repeating exams to detect changes over time
Non-invasive and surgical procedures are all critical to diagnosis and treatment. Failure to perform these tests and identify heart disease violates the doctor’s duty to the patient, causing serious injury. Misdiagnosis commonly occurs when a patient such as a young person or drug user seems to be at low-risk. Undiagnosed patients that end up in urgent or intensive care units may have a malpractice claim that they can bring against all liable parties.
Heart Attack Liability
Because coronary artery disease is easily detected and preventable, health care providers are liable for failure to diagnose an attack. Doctors and medical professionals are held to a high standard of care because patient lives depend on proper diagnosis and treatment. While the patient’s own behavior may contribute to an oncoming attack, medical negligence recognizes the failure to prevent or treat it. Proper prevention can be as easy as warning the patient against certain foods and prescribing exercise. Misdiagnosing precursors to an emergency is a serious breach of medical duty. As such, injured patients and families are entitled to compensation for medical costs, funeral expenses, lost income or relationship, and pain and suffering.
Recover Compensation for Malpractice
If you were injured by a failure to diagnose a heart attack, the South Carolina personal injury lawyers at Lofton & Lofton can help. We can thoroughly analyze your case, and evaluate whether you have any claims arising from incidents of negligence. For decades, we have helped injured patients uncover masked malpractice abuses. Trust Lofton & Lofton to help you recover the compensation you deserve. Call (873) 722-6319 today for prompt and professional attention or contact us online.