Heart Attack Misdiagnosis
Alarm bells will ring when a heart condition is identified in a patient. Most medical experts will swiftly pick up on the symptoms and diagnosis a heart attack, and that can help save the long-term health and even the life of a person.
There are even public advertising campaigns that have been broadcast by the NHS to warn people of the signs and symptoms of heart attacks. Sadly, however failure to diagnose a heart attack or the misdiagnosis of coronary heart disease can occur and a claim can be brought against the negligent body who fails to diagnose it.
The heart is one of our vital organs and requires strict attention by ourselves and those that we put in charge of our health. A heart attack occurs when one of the coronary arteries becomes blocked and the heart muscle is deprived of blood. The longer it takes for the blockage to be cleared, the more damage that is inflicted on the heart muscle. Delays in treatment can lead to heart failure, either shortly after the initial event or in the months or years following.
Some of the most documented symptoms of an impending heart attack include the following:
- severe chest pain
- pain in the left arm
- shortness of breath
A heart attack is a form of heart disease, which can occur to our hearts. Unfortunately, symptoms of heart diseases are often misdiagnosed for other conditions by medical practitioners, with fatal results.
The BBC reported that a “third [of people] are given wrong initial heart attack diagnosis”. These headlines are based on a study funded by the British Heart Foundation, which analysed a database containing information about nearly 600,000 people in the UK who had been diagnosed with a heart attack over a nine-year period. These stats are staggering and highlight the frequency of misdiagnosis. Now, reverting back to the point that diagnosis delays lead to progressive damage to the heart, makes these stats extraordinarily dangerous.
Standards in diagnosis for heart disease need to improve. This is accepted by the NHS who have carried out and concluded in studies, the shortfalls currently in practice. At present this does not take away the very likely risk that we are all susceptible to misdiagnosed heart disease.
If a medical practitioner breaches the duty of care placed on them and wrongfully fails to diagnose coronary heart disease or misdiagnoses a heart attack, by failing to pick up on obvious warning signs, then clinical negligence may have occurred.
If this this sounds like something that has happened to you or your loved ones please contact our team of medical negligence specialist solicitors at Davies and Partners. We are highly experienced in handling cases of misdiagnosis of heart attacks and coronary disease and we can help you by pursuing compensation for the adverse effects the negligence has had on your life.
Just as importantly, justice is a powerful vehicle for the medical institutions to take stock of their practices and improve them to safeguard our health going forward for others.