Time plays a crucial element in receiving life-saving treatments in the event of a heart attack or stroke. When a health care professional or hospital fails to diagnose or even delays in diagnosing a serious medical condition, patients and their families may face irreparable damages. When a tragedy like this occurs, it’s paramount to hold the negligent party accountable for their errors.
At Belsky & Horowitz, LLC, we have years of experience advocating for medical malpractice victims, including individuals and families hurt by a heart attack or stroke misdiagnosis in Maryland. Our Baltimore failure to diagnose heart attack/stroke attorneys are always prepared to represent those who have faced devastating consequences at the hand of malpractice.
Medical Misdiagnosis Statistics
- According to the British Medical Journal, 12 million patients in the United States are misdiagnosed each year.
- 1 in 20 patients faces the possibility of misdiagnosis.
- Cancer, heart attacks, and depression are among the leading misdiagnosed conditions.
- According to a study completed by researchers at John Hopkins Medicine, medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the United States.
- More than 250,000 people die every year because of a medical error.
- These errors, including stroke and heart attack misdiagnoses or failures to diagnose, stem from poorly coordinated care, fragmented insurance networks, the lack of safety nets, and not holding doctors accountable when they make mistakes.
Heart Attack Warning Signs and Symptoms
A heart attack occurs when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart is reduced or completely stops because the coronary arteries start to narrow from fat buildup, cholesterol, and plague. The buildup, called atherosclerosis, happens over a long period of time. When plague breaks off from the heart, a blood clot forms. It’s that blood clot that blocks the blood flow through the heart muscle, thereby cutting off its oxygen.
The American Heart Association provides a list of the most common heart attack warning signs:
- Pain or discomfort in the chest
- Lightheadedness, nausea, or vomiting
- Jaw, neck, or back pain
- Discomfort or pain in the arm or shoulder
- Shortness of breath
It’s important to note that while both men and women are likely to experience chest pain with an oncoming heart attack, women are more likely to experience the other symptoms like shortness of breath or back and jaw pain.
Stroke Warning Signs and Symptoms
A stroke occurs when a portion of the brain stops receiving blood flow. As soon as this happens, brain cells, deprived of oxygen, begin to die. Often times, stroke victims experience varying degrees of lost memory and muscle control.
The American Stroke Association uses the acronym FAST to help people spot the signs of a stroke:
- Face drooping
- Arm weakness
- Speech difficulty
- Time to call 9-1-1
A stroke victim may also experience sudden confusion, numbness in the face, trouble seeing out of one or both eyes, loss of balance and coordination, and a severe headache.
The Importance of Early Diagnosis
According to the CDC, every year 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. While fewer than 10 percent of heart attack victims die from the event, a patient’s chances decline if they’re misdiagnosed. In the ER, heart attacks may be mistaken for heartburn, indigestion, or other minor conditions. If the proper tests, i.e. a blood test, EKG, angiograms, and other methods, are performed early, the patient’s chances of survival and full recovery significantly increases.
The CDC also reports that 795,000 people experience strokes in the United States on an annual basis. Stoke is the leading cause of serious long-term disability. When strokes are misdiagnosed, patients may be assumed to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, experiencing irregular pregnancy symptoms, or having vision problems associated with tiredness or advanced age. Tests like a CT scan or carotid doppler should be performed as soon as possible when a stroke is suspected.
Holding the Negligent Party Liable with a Maryland Stroke/Heart Attack Misdiagnosis Lawyer
Our failure to diagnose heart attack/stroke attorneys are ready to fight for your rights against all liable parties. Our team will work tenaciously to build your misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, or related malpractice claim by calling upon a range of experts and advocating for your right to justice and compensation. Contact us today online or call us at 410-234-0100 or 800-895-5333.