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What Does A Failure To Diagnose A Heart Attack Entail?

There is nothing more traumatic for a patient and their family, to have a make a trip to a hospital for medical reasons that you cannot understand. Almost all the time, health care practitioners, doctors, and nurses make the right decision in the treatment of a patient. In this life and death situation, this could actually mean saving a patient's life. Many life threatening situations such as heart attacks come with their own set of signs and symptoms.

Most often, health care practitioners recognize these symptoms and spring into action and begin to treat the patient accordingly. But there are times when physicians either overlook a person's symptoms of heart attack or make a mistake in their diagnosis of a patient's ailments, resulting in a heart attack and at times, even death.

Heart disease in the United States

According to a report by the American Heart Association, America's leading cause of death is heart disease, claiming more than 2,500 people per day and with 1 American falling victim to a heart attack every 34 seconds. More than 70 million Americans, including 27 million people aged 65 or older, are reported to be suffering from heart disease and other related conditions such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, heart failure, strokes, and congenital heart defects. This number is expected to skyrocket in the years to come.

Medical malpractice in failure to diagnose a heart attack case

Every year, 7 million people visit hospital emergency rooms with complaints of discomfort and chest pain, suggesting that they might be suffering from a heart attack. Of those, around 26,000 patients who suffer from acute cardiac ischemia are being discharged mistakenly from ERs every year, despite there being much information about heart disease and ACI.

Very often in emergency rooms, hear attacks are also misdiagnosed as indigestion, heartburn, or some other medical condition. It is important that each situation is diagnosed taking its own circumstances and facts into consideration. A marvelous medical assessment's begins at a very grassroots level, with the patient being asked by the health care practitioner about their medical history, as well with as a physical examination.

The medical history should stress on factors specific to heart disease, such as previous heart conditions, family history, patient alcohol, drug conditions, smoking, drug use etc. as well as on the reason that the patient has come to the hospital in the first place.


In present times, a physician can no longer send a patient back home merely by assuming that the chest pain they are experiencing is not an indication of a heart attack. Ischemia, even in small amounts, can put a patient at grave risk. There are many different therapeutic and diagnostic tools available in hospitals today, that can be used in investigate symptoms.

The way patients experiencing chest pain are evaluated and the way they are subsequently treated, are changing with the implementation of new policies, guidelines, and procedures. Through these new guidelines, misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose may be prevented.

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