Heart Attack Misdiagnosis | Maryland Malpractice Lawyer

Heart attacks are commonly misdiagnosed. They are usually misdiagnosed in the emergency room or by primary care doctors.

When doctors needlessly fail to diagnose a heart attack because of inattention what can be obvious symptoms, patients can suffer and die. If you or a loved one has been harmed or killed by a misdiagnosed heart attack misdiagnosis, we may be able to help get compensation for the harm that was caused. Call our malpractice lawyers today at 800-553-8082 or fill out our online case review for a free claim evaluation and consultation for Maryland victims.

There are approximately 1.5 million heart attacks every year in this country. Most cannot be avoided even with the best of medical care. But over 10,000 heart attacks are misdiagnosed every year.

Women and Misdiagnosed Heart Attacks heart attack

Women die of heart disease more often than men do. In fact, not many primary care doctors or even cardiologists know this. Doctors are also quick to attribute stroke and heart attack symptoms in women to anxiety. A New England Journal of Medicine study found that women under the age of 55 were seven times more likely to have their heart attack misdiagnosed than men. This resulted in women leaving the hospital without a proper evaluation, which makes them twice as likely to die.

Examples of Heart Attack Misdiagnosis Lawsuits

These are some example scenarios of viable medical malpractice lawsuits stemming from the misdiagnosis of a heart attack:

  • A 43-year-old male suffers a heart attack after the emergency room doctor at his local hospital misdiagnosed his chest pain as a muscle spasm. Instead of getting the necessary tests to know that a heart attack was imminent, the patient is told to take Tylenol and get some rest. The next day, he has a heart attack at his primary care providers office. His life expectancy is reduced to five years or less.
  • A 60-year-old man is told by his primary care doctor that he has angina instead of a heart attack. He dies seven days later of a heart attack.
  • A 52-year-old woman dies of a heart attack shortly after three months she presented to her PCP with chest pain and nausea. Her doctor misdiagnosed her heart condition as costochondritis. She returned twice complaining of the same symptoms.
  • A 67-year-old man goes to his primary care doctor with complaints of lightheadedness, sweats. His EKG is abnormal, and he has a biomarker (myoglobin) of a heart attack. His PCP does not order any follow-up tests and diagnoses an upper respiratory disturbance. For the next week, he suffers from the same symptoms and goes to the hospital. The emergency room doctors repeat the EKG, which they incorrectly interpret as normal. He goes home again. He returns three days later with a 98% blocked right-sided coronary artery. They tried to put in a stent, but he died two days later.
  • A 37-year-old woman suffers brain damage and a heart attack after the hospital misdiagnosis her heart condition as "working mom anxiety" in spite of having classic signs of a heart attack.
Let's get out of the hypothetical and look at real lawsuits filed in Maryland courts in 2016-17 alleging failure to diagnose a heart attack.
Verdicts and Settlements in Heart Attack Misdiagnosis Lawsuits

Here are examples of heart attack misdiagnosis settlements and verdicts.

  • 2015, Connecticut $2,425,000 Verdict: A 61-year-old man went to the ER with chest pain radiating into his left arm, dizziness, and lightheadedness. His EKG and chest x-ray were normal. He returned to the hospital the next day and got a nuclear stress which was also normal. He was diagnosed with gastrointestinal problems and released. A few weeks later, he woke up with what he thought was severe indigestion pain. He went to the ER and died of cardiopulmonary arrest and myocardial infarction. The man's family brought a wrongful death lawsuit against the doctors alleging the EKGs were abnormal, and reasonable doctors would have ordered a cardiac catheterization. The family's verdict consisted of $425,000 for loss of consortium and $2,000,000 damages to the victim's estate.
  • 2014, California $475,000 Settlement: Plaintiff saw his PCP with back pain and symptoms suggestive of a heart attack. His doctor treated the back pain with medication and ignored the cardiac symptoms. A week later he has a myocardial infarction that resulted in heart damage.
  • 2006, Maryland (P.G. County) $600,000 Verdict: Man arrived at Southern Maryland Hospital's emergency room complaining of sharp pain in the side of his chest, shortness of breath and pain with movement and when breathing deeply. The ER doctor ordered an EKG and a chest x-ray and gave him Toradol for his for musculoskeletal pain. He was diagnosed with musculoskeletal pain and discharged. Hours later, he returned to the hospital with more complaints of pain. He was diagnosed with angina and admitted to the hospital to rule out a heart attack. He underwent testing which showed abnormal results and he was transferred to Georgetown University Medical Center because they could not perform a cardiac catheterization at Southern Maryland Hospital. Georgetown found that he had had an acute heart attack requiring two stents. He claimed at trial misdiagnosis and the failure to transfer him to Georgetown in a timely fashion.
  • 2002, Maryland (Annapolis) $1,916,328 Verdict: A woman presented to the emergency room at Baltimore Washington Hospital with symptoms of cardiac arrest. Instead of performing the necessary tests to rule out a cardiac event, she was released. She suffered from oxygen deprivation that resulted in a mild brain damage.
Hiring a Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you have suffered from medical malpractice from a misdiagnosis, we can help you learn about your options and determine whether there is a path for you to get compensation for the harm that has been done. Call us today at 800-553-8082 to discuss strategies to get you the compensation for your loss you deserve. There is NO COST OR FEE of any kind for this case evaluation. You can also get a free online case review.

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