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What women need to know about misdiagnosis of heart attacks

Did you know that roughly 610,000 people die every year in the United States because of heart disease? This is according to the most recent data available to the Centers for Disease Control. Furthermore, did you also know that women are more likely to die from heart disease than men? If not, then the next statistic should be cause for concern.

A 2015 article for The Atlantic describes a chilling statistic many women may not be aware of in our country and that is that "thousands of American women with heart disease are misdiagnosed every year." Misdiagnosing a heart attack can have deadly consequences, so how does it happen and what is the outcome of this deadly mistake?

Symptoms can mimic other non-life threatening conditions

Not all heart attacks present themselves with the assumed sudden chest pain. In fact, some heart attack symptoms mimic other conditions that are not life threatening, such as:

  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Stomach pain or discomfort
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Throat or jaw pain
  • Fatigue
  • Persistent cough

Even though all of these symptoms are associated with heart disease and heart attacks, doctors who are not paying close enough attention could miss these signs or fail to put two and two together in order to come to the right diagnosis. As was pointed out above, this can have deadly consequences, especially among women.

A misdiagnosis can lead to civil litigation

Although doctors are not infallible, they are required to follow a set standard of care that utilizes their extensive medical knowledge. When a doctor has little experience, is distracted, fatigued or otherwise negligent in their duty, medical mistakes like a misdiagnosis can occur.

Victims and family members alike would do well to remember that in misdiagnosis cases, compensation may be owed to cover medical expenses, pain and suffering as well as funeral and burial costs in cases of wrongful death. Seeking compensation for a medical mistake can be a challenge you may not feel up to handling on your own. If this is the case, keep in mind that you always have the right to seek legal counsel before taking civil action.

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