What are the symptoms of a heart attack (myocardial infarction)?
Although most the heart attacks you have seen on TV present with sudden, intense symptoms, in many cases only gradual, mild discomfort is experienced. Some heart attacks may occur without any symptoms, common symptoms of heart attack include one or more of the following:
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Nausea or vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Pain or discomfort in any other area of the upper body, including the shoulder, arm, back, jaw or stomach
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Heightened anxiety or feeling of impending doom
How can damage from heart attack be caused by medical malpractice?
Doctors and emergency room staff often fail to attribute symptoms to heart attack because they do not see the patient as someone who is likely to have one. Mistakes leading to undiagnosed or misdiagnosed heart attack include:
- Failure to take a proper and thorough medical history
- Failure to consider heart attacks in women
- Failure to perform a thorough physical examination
- Mistakenly attributing symptoms to other, less dangerous causes
- Failure to consider heart attack in patients that seem healthy
- Delayed diagnosis, misdiagnosis, or failure to diagnose heart attack
- Failure to consider heart attacks in younger patients
- Improper reading of EKG results
- Failure to order necessary tests in a timely and emergent manner
- Overreliance on EKG results
- Laboratory error
- Failure to consult cardiac specialists in a timely manner
What are some of the conditions that heart attacks can be mistaken for?
Doctors and emergency room staff are responsible to be careful not to mistake heart attack symptoms for symptoms of other less dangerous medical problems, such as:
- Acid reflux
- Anxiety attack
- Musculoskeletal pain
Can damage from heart attack be prevented?
Yes, sometimes damage from a heart attack can be prevented by proper and timely medical treatment. Doctors and health care professionals can detect an imminent heart attack, or properly diagnose and treat a heart attack by:
- Recognizing the warning signs, including signs of angina, a precursor to heart attack
- Taking a proper and thorough patient history
- Conducting a detailed and complete physical exam
- Avoiding an improper conclusion regarding the patient’s presentation by carefully adhering to established protocols
- Immediately performing an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG)
- Performing laboratory testing in a timely manner for the presence of certain enzymes
- Promptly administering the appropriate treatment, which may include medication or emergency cardiac catheterization to improve blood flow throughout the heart
I have lost a loved one due to undiagnosed or misdiagnosed heart attack. Do I still have a case?
If you have lost a loved one due to medical malpractice you may still be entitled to compensation due to your loved one’s wrongful death.
What can I do if I am the victim of medically preventable damage from a heart attack?
If you or a loved one has experienced death or serious injury which you believe may have been because of the failure to prevent heart attack, or the failure to timely diagnose or treat a heart attack, you may be entitled to compensation including:
- Current and future loss of wages
- Current and future medical bills
- Long-term care expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Long-term disability
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Burial expenses
Together, New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers Michael L. Weiss, Esq. and Robert E. Paarz, Esq. have presented over 15 medical malpractice cases relating to heart attacks to juries and have helped those families achieve substantial financial recoveries. They are committed to using their experience and knowledge to help any family or individual who has suffered a severe, permanent injury or death due to medical malpractice to obtain fair compensation.