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Heart Attack

New York Heart Attack Misdiagnosis Attorneys

Heart Attack Malpractice Cases

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in both men and women in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 805,000 people in the U.S. experience a heart attack every year. This equates to about one person having a heart attack every 40 seconds. While advances in modern medicine have allowed for better diagnosis and treatment for heart attacks, not every patient who visits the emergency room with heart attack symptoms receives the care they need.

If you or your loved one was improperly diagnosed or treated for a heart attack by a medical professional, leading to serious injury or death, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim. At Simonson Goodman Platzer PC, we can help you understand your legal options and immediately begin working to protect your right to a fair recovery. With a proven record of success in 98% of the cases our attorneys have handled, including more than $200 million recovered for our clients, we are well-poised to advocate for you throughout the entire legal process.

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Contact us online or call (800) 817-5029 to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with one of our New York heart attack misdiagnosis lawyers.

Heart Attack Symptoms

A heart attack, technically known as myocardial infarction or acute myocardial infarction, occurs when lack of oxygen to the heart (cardiac ischemia) caused by a partial or total blockage of an artery leads to the death of the affected heart tissues.

The most common symptom of a heart attack is chest pain. Although rare, some people will experience a heart attack without any symptoms whatsoever. Additionally, because heart attacks often occur over a span of several hours, people may not initially realize that what they are experiencing is, in fact, a medical emergency.

Some of the more common symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Pain in the chest, which may feel like pressure, tightness, or an aching/squeezing sensation
  • Indigestion and/or heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Sudden lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Cold sweats
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain

It’s important to note that heart attack symptoms can be incredibly varied; in some cases, symptoms are mild or nearly non-existent but in others, they are extremely severe. If you suspect that you or someone else is having a heart attack, call 911 or go to the emergency room right away.

Misdiagnosis of Heart Attacks in Emergency Rooms

A heart attack misdiagnosis occurs when a medical professional fails to correctly identify or diagnose a heart attack in a patient who is experiencing symptoms indicative of one. This misdiagnosis can lead to delayed or incorrect treatment, potentially causing severe complications or even death.

All too often, patients with symptoms of a heart attack, such as chest pain and shortness of breath, go to the emergency room only to be turned away. They may be misdiagnosed with another, less-serious condition or the ER doctor may fail to administer the proper tests. In any case, when a patient does not receive the proper standard of care and is sent home without treatment, the consequences can be devastating and, in many cases, deadly.

Common examples of heart attack misdiagnoses in emergency rooms in the U.S. include:

  • Failing to diagnose a heart attack in a patient presenting atypical symptoms
  • Misdiagnosing heart attack symptoms as something less serious
  • Misdiagnosing heart attack symptoms as signs of psychological distress (this is historically more common in female patients)
  • Delayed diagnosis as a result of failure to recognize severity of symptoms
  • Failing to order proper diagnostic tests
  • Negligent diagnostic procedures, leading to incorrect results
  • Misreading diagnostic tests and/or analyses
  • Failing to take into account a patient’s medical background and history
  • Dismissing patient’s self-reported symptoms due to the age of the patient or a pre-existing condition

Why Do Heart Attacks Get Misdiagnosed?

Undiagnosed or misdiagnosed heart attacks can occur due to various contributing factors:

  • Atypical Symptoms: Heart attacks don’t always present with typical chest pain. Symptoms can be atypical, such as nausea, indigestion, extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, or pain in the jaw, neck, or back. If a patient experiences these atypical symptoms and doesn’t recognize them as potential signs of a heart attack, they might delay seeking medical help, leading to a misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis.
  • Age and Gender Differences: Symptoms of a heart attack can manifest differently in women than in men. Women might experience subtler symptoms or symptoms not traditionally associated with a heart attack, leading to a higher chance of misdiagnosis, especially if healthcare providers are not as familiar with these gender-specific presentations. While anyone is at risk of being misdiagnosed, studies have shown that women and people of color are at a higher risk of receiving a heart attack misdiagnosis.
  • Underlying Health Conditions: Patients with pre-existing conditions like diabetes, which can affect nerve function and perception of pain, may experience atypical symptoms during a heart attack. These atypical presentations can be easily overlooked or attributed to other health issues, leading to a misdiagnosis.
  • Incomplete Medical History or Patient Information: Inaccurate or incomplete patient history, especially regarding previous cardiac events or risk factors, can contribute to misdiagnosis. If healthcare providers are not fully informed about a patient's medical background, they might not consider a heart attack as a possibility.
  • Diagnostic Errors: Misinterpretation of test results (such as ECG/EKG, blood tests for cardiac enzymes like troponin), or errors in imaging tests (angiograms, echocardiograms) can lead to misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a heart attack accurately.
  • Communication Issues: Inadequate communication between healthcare providers or between providers and patients can lead to missed information or misunderstanding of symptoms, contributing to misdiagnosis.
  • Patient Perception and Behavior: Sometimes, patients may downplay or ignore symptoms, attributing them to other causes. This behavior might lead healthcare providers to overlook the possibility of a heart attack.

Heart Attack Misdiagnosis Can Have Deadly Consequences

When a medical professional fails to accurately and quickly diagnose a heart attack, the patient will not receive the treatment he or she needs. 

The consequences of a misdiagnosed heart attack can be severe and potentially life-threatening. They may include:

  • Delayed Treatment: When a heart attack is misdiagnosed, the patient doesn’t receive appropriate and timely treatment. Delays in administering medications like clot-busting drugs or performing procedures like angioplasty to restore blood flow to the heart can lead to more extensive damage to the heart muscle.
  • Increased Risk of Complications: A misdiagnosed heart attack can increase the risk of complications such as heart failure, arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats), cardiogenic shock (when the heart can't pump enough blood to meet the body's needs), or even cardiac arrest.
  • Permanent Damage to the Heart: Delayed or lack of appropriate treatment can result in irreversible damage to the heart muscle. The longer the delay in restoring blood flow to the heart, the higher the likelihood of permanent damage.
  • Higher Mortality Rate: Misdiagnosed heart attacks can lead to an increased risk of death. Without prompt intervention, the heart muscle may sustain significant damage, leading to fatal outcomes.
  • Emotional and Psychological Impact: A misdiagnosis of a heart attack can cause significant stress, anxiety, and emotional trauma for the patient and their loved ones. There may be a loss of trust in the healthcare system or healthcare providers, leading to reluctance in seeking timely care in the future.
  • Financial Costs: Misdiagnosed heart attacks can result in increased medical expenses due to prolonged hospital stays, additional treatments, or the need for long-term cardiac care and rehabilitation.

In fact, studies have shown that the risk of dying from a heart attack increases by as much as 50% if the patient is not properly diagnosed.

For those who do survive, the risk of experiencing complications as a result of a heart attack misdiagnosis and failure to treat is high. Many will be readmitted and require further medical attention in the future.

The physical, emotional, and financial cost of medical negligence is immense. Victims and their loved ones are likely to incur massive medical bills and experience a significant degree of pain and suffering as a result of receiving substandard medical care. You shouldn’t have to simply deal with the consequences of medical negligence on your own.

Let Our Firm Fight for You

If you suffered serious complications or if your loved one died after a physician, emergency room doctor, or another health care professional failed to timely diagnose and treat a heart attack, we can help. At Simonson Goodman Platzer PC, we understand what you are going through, and we believe that you deserve fair compensation for your losses and justice for the suffering you have endured. Our New York heart attack malpractice attorneys are ready to put decades of legal experience and a long-proven track record of success on your side.

We have offices located in New York and New Jersey and offer free initial consultations to all prospective clients. We also provide our services on a contingency fee basis, meaning if we do not win your case, you do not pay.

Schedule a free case evaluation with our team today; call (800) 817-5029 to get started. 

Our Settlements & Verdicts

Our top priority is to devise customized legal strategies that are tailored to the unique legal needs of our clients, no matter how simple or complicated their situations might be.

  • $87 Million Work Accident Verdict

    The firm won $87 million in the Bronx County Supreme Court for a laborer who was left paralyzed as a result of a work accident in March 2004.

  • $18 Million Medical Malpractice Settlement

    $18,000,000 verdict on behalf of a twin born after a long delay with a severe brain injury-hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.

  • $7.9 Million Medical Malpractice Verdict

    $7,900,000 verdict for failure to monitor glucose levels in post CABG patient leads to death of 47 year old leaving a wife and two children.

  • $7.5 Million Medical Malpractice Settlement

    $7,500,000 recovery for a baby who was seriously brain-damaged at the time of his birth. Due to a delay in delivery, the baby lost vital oxygen to his brain and develop cerebral palsy.

  • $6.4 Million Medical Malpractice Settlement

    $6,400,000 recovery for a young woman’s pregnancy that was mishandled before she went into labor leading to seizures with resultant brain damage.

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