One of the most prevalent health problems in the country is heart disease, and it is unfortunately the cause of a large percentage of deaths of middle-aged men and women. However, a large part of heart-disease related injuries and deaths could be related to errors in a doctor’s diagnosis. Here are some of the ways that diagnostic errors can lead to overlooked heart problems.
It is surprisingly easy for a doctor to misdiagnose a heart attack. Especially in women, the symptoms of a heart attack can appear like other illnesses. In fact, women are much more likely to receive an incorrect diagnosis because they will often lack chest pain, which is the hallmark of a heart attack. The way heart attacks develop is when too much plaque in the arteries begins to restrict oxygen and blood flow to the heart. Often the distribution of plaque in the arteries of women will appear more even than in men, even at unhealthy levels. So there is a much greater danger for women to die of a heart attack because the doctor overlooked their symptoms.
Timing is Everything
When the heart is starved of oxygen during a heart attack, then it can start dying right away, which will then lead to lethal heart failure. For this reason, it is critical for doctors to treat a heart attack as soon as possible. If a doctor overlooks symptoms of a heart attack or does not take the symptoms seriously, then they might not treat a heart attack until it is too late. Even if someone’s life is spared, a heart attack creates a traumatic amount of tissue damage in the heart which means that a heart attack survivor could deal with lasting heart problems in the future. This is the sad case for many young people who suffer from heart attacks. Because heart attacks are more common in people over fifty, doctors might disregard the same symptoms in a younger individual, leading to costly repercussions.
Lack of Testing
Since there are many different symptoms that could point to a heart attack, it is up to the doctor to do their due diligence when diagnosing a patient. The entire diagnostic process could include performing a physical examination, coronary x-ray, electrocardiogram, blood tests, and more. It could be considered medical malpractice if a heart attack was not diagnosed because the doctor did not perform the necessary tests.
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