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Coronary heart disease is the number one killer of American men and women. About 1.5 million Americans experience a heart attack each year, and in many cases, heart attacks, also known as an acute myocardial infarction (AMI), can be prevented through timely diagnosis and effective treatment, both of which reduce the risk of medical complications and death.

“Each year, at least 11,000 Americans die from preventable heart attacks that were not properly or promptly diagnosed by cardiologists and other medical specialists,” says our Philadelphia heart attack misdiagnosis attorney at The Weitz Firm, LLC.

More often than not, medical negligence is the cause of heart attack misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis of heart attacks. A fair percentage of medical malpractice cases are filed against cardiologists, nurses, emergency room physicians and other medical specialists who fail to make a timely or accurate diagnosis of a heart attack.

Symptoms of a heart attack (and other conditions)

In many situations, medical professionals misdiagnose a heart attack due to the fact that the symptoms of a heart attack are similar to the symptoms of many other medical conditions. Some of the most common symptoms of a heart attack include but are not limited to:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain or tightness in the chest
  • Pain in the neck, back, and/or arms
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling disoriented
  • Sleep problems
  • Body aches
  • Sudden weakness
  • A cold sweat
  • Nausea, vomiting, and indigestion
  • Irregular heartbeat and
  • Anxiety

As you may know, some of these symptoms can mimic the symptoms of other medical conditions, including:

  • Angina
  • Aortic aneurysm and dissection
  • Arrhythmias
  • Heartburn, acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
  • Pneumonia
  • Pancreatitis
  • Panic attacks
  • A blood clot in the lung
  • Musculoskeletal pain and
  • Even anxiety, depression, and emotional stress

How to diagnose a heart attack?

Medical professionals have a variety of methods to diagnose a heart attack. The most common medical tests performed by cardiologists and other medical specialists to diagnose a heart attack include:

  • Electrocardiogram (EKG)
  • X-ray of the chest area
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the heart and
  • Cardiac catheterization

If you or your loved one had a preventable heart attack and you are looking to find liable parties, you may be wondering who can be held responsible for the heart attack misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis.

Who’s liable for your heart attack misdiagnosis?

Our experienced heart attack misdiagnosis attorney at The Weitz Firm, LLC, says that in many cases, medical professionals in a hospital emergency room can be sued for medical malpractice if the patient received medical care in the ER after experiencing symptoms of a heart attack.

If medical specialists in the ER failed to properly or timely diagnose a heart attack, they may be held liable for any damages and losses caused to the patient by the heart attack misdiagnosis.

But medical professionals in the ER are not the only healthcare providers who can fail to promptly or accurately diagnose a heart attack or any other cardiac problem. Other medical specialists in the ER setting who can be sued for heart attack misdiagnosis include:

  • Physicians in the emergency room
  • Consulting cardiologists
  • Consulting physicians
  • Nurses and
  • Interns and medical students

Statistically speaking, emergency rooms that treat fewer patients are more likely to make negligent errors and misdiagnose patients than ERs that treat many patients on a daily and weekly basis. And it’s clear why: lower-volume ERs have less experience and/or resources for properly diagnosing heart attacks.

ERs are not the only place where your heart attack or other cardiovascular problem can be misdiagnosed. Other medical professionals who may be held liable for failure to properly or accurately diagnose a heart attack include:

  • General practitioners
  • Family doctors
  • Physician assistants
  • Doctors at urgent care centers and
  • Lab technicians

Regardless of who failed to promptly and properly diagnose your heart attack, you may be entitled to seek compensation for any resulting damages and losses through a medical malpractice lawsuit. Contact The Weitz Firm, LLC, for a free case evaluation. Call our offices at 267-587-6240 today.

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