Diagnosis of a medical condition is not always easy or quick – especially if the medical condition is rare. But for certain conditions, there is no time to waste and no room for error. Failure to diagnose heart attacks and strokes is a serious problem in the United States, and more common than most of us would like to think.

Misdiagnosis of heart attack is especially problematic in female patients, who often experience different symptoms than men do. While men might feel chest pain and intense tingling/pain in the left arm, a woman could experience pain elsewhere in the body that seems unrelated to heart trouble. Nonetheless, it is crucial for medical professionals to understand that symptoms vary and to order appropriate tests. When they don’t, patients will likely die or suffer permanent injuries.

The scenario mentioned above is the subject of a recent medical malpractice lawsuit filed by a woman living in the Midwest. According to news reports, she went to the emergency room in early July of 2019. The 38-year-old woman was experiencing abdominal pain that made it difficult to breathe.

The medical staff did not administer an electrocardiogram (ECG), even though the woman’s husband asked if her pain could be heart related. She was told she had epigastric pain (essentially indigestion) and sent home. Two days later, when her symptoms hadn’t gone away, she returned to the hospital. After finally getting an ECG, she learned that her left anterior descending artery was completely blocked.

Although the woman is lucky to have survived, her heart was damaged beyond repair. She is now on a transplant list awaiting a donor heart. She is suing the hospital and the affiliated medical system for the diagnostic negligence that led to her near-fatal injuries.

Doctors are often accused of ordering unnecessary tests for patients, either to make more money for the hospital or to practice “defensive medicine” and avoid legal liability. But this case appears to be an example of the opposite problem. If the hospital had been thorough on the woman’s first visit, she would have had a diagnosis and treatment two days sooner and likely wouldn’t need a transplant.

If you suffered medical problems because your condition was misdiagnosed or medical professionals were dismissive of your symptoms, you may have the right to seek full and fair compensation in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Please contact our firm to discuss your options. with one of our skilled attorneys.