For both men and women, heart disease is the leading cause of death in America. This is a fact that many people don’t know about because heart disease doesn’t always garner as much attention as other health issues. Fortunately, there are an increasing number of programs that aim to make the general public aware of the growing incidents of death related to heart disease.
Medical professionals recommend going to the emergency room or contacting your doctor immediately after noticing discomfort in the chest. Failure to recognize the seriousness of a heart condition could literally result in death. It’s also important to understand that the signs associated with a heart attack are different for men and women.
According to the American Heart Association, signs of a woman having a heart attack will likely include pressure or pain in the upper abdomen or lower chest, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, dizziness, extreme fatigue and upper back pressure. Another symptom in women is a sense of impending doom and feeling anxious. It’s also common for women to feel like something is wrong and have an overall sense of restlessness. They may also have pain in the left arm, the jaw, and the chest. While there isn’t always chest pain, when it does occur it’s often a feeling of pressure, squeezing or tightness.
It’s worth mentioning that women don’t often believe they’re having a heart attack when it’s happening, but instead attribute what they’re feeling to a common cold or flu. As a result of this sentiment, treatment is often delayed, which can result in death. This is precisely why there is a more concentrated effort to make sure the general public understands the signs of a heart attack, as well as the importance of receiving care expeditiously.
The signs of a heart attack in men are often a squeezing pain or a feeling of fullness in the center of the chest. It’s also been described as a pressure that lasts for longer than a few minutes. Although it’s a type of discomfort that’s noticeable, it’s also common for men to ignore the symptoms until they are severe. It’s recommended that men go to an emergency room as soon as they experience any of these symptoms for more than a few minutes.
There was a well-publicized case involving a 74 year old man that paramedics took to the hospital. This patient was sent home by the emergency room doctor because he disagreed with the paramedic’s assessment of the patient’s medical condition after running tests. The doctor concluded that the patient was simply experiencing anxiety. This case resulted in the patient dying the following day from a heart attack, which ended up being less than 24 hours after being discharged from the emergency room. This is an unfortunate example of a common error.
Medical mistakes and misdiagnoses that lead to death as a result of a heart attack occur often. More than a million heart attacks happen every year across the United States and more than 30 percent of those heart attacks result in death. Based on studies and statistical data, younger populations and women are more likely to be misdiagnosed when having a heart attack, even when the symptoms are clear.
Given the prevalence of heart attacks as the number one cause of death among men and women, it’s surprising that medical professionals don’t always recognize when a patient is having a heart attack. Sometimes the doctor does not investigate risk factors of the patient and on other occasions they simply don’t find out about the patient’s history. In other instances, the medical professional might misinterpret the patient’s medical history.
Misdiagnosis is dangerous for a lot of reasons, including the fact that a heart attack can result in permanent damage to the heart. Specifically, the heart muscle can be damaged, which is referred to as a myocardial infarction because it affects the blood supply. When the blood supply is interrupted, there’s an increased chance of a brain injury. Needless to say, failure to properly diagnose a heart attack can result in devastating and life-changing results that might include death.
Doctors and other medical personnel are trained to deal with life-threatening conditions, which means they should be equipped to assess the condition of patients to rule out anything that could lead to death. Although there is a variety of different tests and types of equipment designed to assess a patient’s health, the job of a doctor is to interpret the information presented by diagnostic equipment. There are different reasons why this might not happen adequately.
Zayed Law Offices is equipped to handle cases involving injury or death as a result of medical errors. Call or visit Zayed Law Offices to get answers to any questions you have regarding medical negligence related to heart attack errors.