Chest pain is one of the most common reasons people visit the emergency room. Because of the life-threatening nature of a heart attack, many doctors will rule out this serious cause of chest pain before looking for any other cause. Often, simple tests can rule out a concern with the heart quickly.
Despite this, doctors sometimes still fail to diagnose a heart attack in a patient who presents with chest pain or other telling symptoms. In many cases, this failure to diagnose will lead to serious complications or even death.
If you or a loved one suffered complications because your Louisville doctor failed to diagnose a heart attack, you may be able to recover compensation to cover your medical care, rehabilitation and therapy, home health care, pain and suffering, funeral costs (in fatal cases), and any other related damages. To learn more, schedule a time to discuss your case with a Louisville medical malpractice lawyer at The Powell Law Firm, PLLC today — for free: 502-242-7000.
When does a doctor typically test for a heart attack?
General practitioners, emergency department doctors, and cardiologists are all well-trained to spot signs of a heart attack. This includes:
- Chest pain or a crushing sensation in the chest
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
- Nausea and cold sweats
- Pain in the left arm or both arms
- Neck, jaw, or back pain
Other, less severe symptoms may also signal a heart concern. Often, people believe they are suffering from heartburn. Women tend to have fewer of the “typical” signs of a heart attack than men, but either gender can have unusual symptoms.
Doctors, however, are trained to spot these symptoms. If you have risk factors for a heart attack and show any potential symptoms without an obvious cause, the doctor should order tests to rule out a heart condition.
When does failure to recognize a heart attack become medical malpractice?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S., so it is no surprise many doctors can recognize a heart attack without a second thought.
However, symptoms vary greatly and the stakes are high. This is why most doctors err on the side of caution and run the necessary diagnostic tests to rule out a heart attack. Taking a blood sample, conducting an electrocardiogram (EKG), or performing a coronary angiography are all quick ways to determine if a patient is having a heart attack.
Failure to diagnose a Louisville heart attack can lead to major complications. Getting treatment quickly limits the amount of damage to the heart muscle and increases the chances of survival.
By failing to catch the heart attack, the doctor harmed your health. Your pain and suffering went on longer than it had to, and it may have affected your lifespan.
If a doctor practicing a reasonable standard of care would have tested for a heart attack but your Louisville doctor failed to run the tests that would identify your issue (and you suffered harm because of it), this is medical malpractice. You may be eligible to file for compensation through a medical malpractice claim under Kentucky malpractice law. A medical malpractice claim allows you to recover damages including medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related losses.
What is the medical malpractice claims process like in Kentucky?
To file a medical malpractice claim in Kentucky, you need to establish that the medical practitioner violated the industry’s standard of care. Essentially, you must demonstrate what a “reasonable” doctor would do to treat a patient with your symptoms.
In the case of failure to diagnose a heart attack, you can establish malpractice occurred if you can prove your doctor failed to conduct testing and/or diagnose your condition when another doctor with the same training in the same field would have. We have relationships with a network of skilled expert witnesses who can establish the standard of care in your case, and help us collect other evidence to support your claim.
Once we have all the evidence to prove your claim, we can calculate your related losses and ask for compensation from the malpractice insurance provider. With a strong case, we are usually able to negotiate a settlement without filing a lawsuit or going to court.
Do I need a lawyer to help me file a Kentucky medical malpractice claim?
Medical malpractice claims rely on expert witnesses and put you head-to-head with hospitals and insurance companies. You do not want to try to take on this type of case without a Louisville medical malpractice attorney on your side.
A lawyer at The Powell Law Firm, PLLC can help you get the compensation you deserve after a doctor failed to diagnose your heart attack in Louisville. Call our office today at 502-242-7000 to schedule a free, complimentary case review. Do not delay, because there is a strict one-year statute of limitations on these cases.