According to a report released by the British Medical Journal in 2016, heart disease and cancer were the two leading causes of death in the United States, followed by medical errors. These causes have the potential to go hand in hand and misdiagnosis is a common medical error when it comes to heart disease.
Heart disease can often be overlooked or misdiagnosed since symptoms may not be apparent in the early stages, as is the case with atherosclerosis. Some forms of heart disease can have symptoms that may resemble other conditions. These symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea and vomiting
Medical professionals commonly mistake these symptoms for other less serious conditions, although they should perform tests and studies to rule out the most dangerous causes first. Additionally, preconceptions about a patient, especially females and younger individuals, may also impact medical decisions regarding diagnosis and treatment. Lastly, delayed diagnoses are a common error. As with other medical conditions, it is always better to treat heart disease as early as possible to give the best opportunity for a favorable outcome. Unnecessary delay in treatment can have fatal consequences.
Appropriate testing can inform doctors on whether a patient is suffering from heart disease or something else entirely. Unfortunately, these tests, which can easily prevent errors in diagnosis, are not always administered.
At Langer & Langer, our Indiana medical malpractice attorneys’ objective is to protect the rights of patients and encourage healthcare providers to comply with the standard of medical care. Errors in diagnosis are one of the most common factors in medical malpractice cases and have the potential to cause serious harm or death to a patient. You have the right to pursue legal compensation from those who are responsible if you have suffered as a result of such an error.