Medical Malpractice Cases Involving Heart Attack
Over 1 million Americans die every year from heart attack. Whether a person will survive a heart attack and, if so, what their quality of life will be afterwards, depends on a variety of factors. One of the most important factors is how quickly the patient receives proper medical care. Before this can occur, one must first recognize the patient is exhibiting the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. The Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Kroot Law, LLC have handled a variety of complex medical cases including those involving the failure to recognize the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
The heart requires constant supply of oxygen rich blood. A heart attack or myocardial infarction occurs when blood flow to a certain portion of the heart is blocked for a sufficient period of time to cause damage or death to that heart muscle. This typically occurs when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood through a coronary artery.
Both medical and non-medical providers should be aware of the signs and symptoms of a possible heart attack. The most common signs and symptoms of a potential heart attack include chest pain and/or discomfort, upper body discomfort (such as in the arms, neck, or jaw), and shortness of breath. Other signs and symptoms may include breaking out in a cold sweat, dizziness or lightheadedness, and/or nausea. Not all of the signs or symptoms must be present. Some patients suffering an actual or evolving heart attack may also have atypical signs. This is more common in women. Unfortunately, even doctors have missed the signs and symptoms of a heart attack particularly if the patient does not present with all three classic signs. The failure to recognize the signs and symptoms of a heart attack can constitute medical malpractice.
Early treatment for a heart attack can mean the difference between life and death. It can also mean the difference between minimal heart damage and major heart damage. If someone is suspected of having a heart attack, 911 should be called immediately. Delay can have dire consequences. The American Heart Association also recommends the persons suspected of a having a heart attack chew an adult 325 mg non-coated aspirin immediately (and that the paramedics be notified if this is done).
Doctors can diagnose whether a patient is having a heart attack based on signs and symptoms, medical history, and tests. The most common tests used to diagnose a heart attack are an EKG (or electrocardiogram) and blood tests. An EKG records the heart’s electrical activity, including the strength and timing of these signals. Blood tests are used measure abnormal levels of protein in the blood stream. Failing to order the appropriate tests when a patient is demonstrating signs and symptoms of a heart attack can represent medical malpractice.
Whether a doctor, hospital, or other healthcare providers committed medical malpractice in connection with a heart attack will depend on the circumstances of each case. Two major questions that must be answered are whether the doctor or health provider deviated from the standard of care and whether that deviation caused harm to the patient. If the answer to both is yes, what is the nature and extent of the harm that resulted from the medical mistake? These are the types of questions that an experienced medical malpractice lawyer will seek to answer in evaluating a heart attack case. For further information, we invite you to contact Chicago medical malpractice lawyer Jason M. Kroot for a free consultation.