New Jersey Heart Attack Malpractice Attorneys
What Is A Heart Attack?
Your heart is a muscle that pumps blood through your body. A heart attack is sudden loss of the heart’s ability to pump. A heart attack is also called “cardiac arrest” or “myocardial infarction.” Heart attacks can be fatal.
What Are Common Signs Of A Heart Attack?
According to the American Heart Association, common signs of a heart attack can include the following:
- Chest Discomfort, Chest Pressure, Chest Squeezing, Chest Fullness or Chest Pain. It can last a few minutes or go away and then come back.
- Pain in Arms, Back, Neck, Jaw or Stomach.
- Shortness of Breath.
- Cold Sweat
These problems with the chest, arms, back, neck, and jaw can be a sign of a heart attack if they are being caused by the heart not getting enough oxygen rich blood.
Unfortunately, some doctors hear about these symptoms and make a medical opinion that the patient has a less serious condition such as indigestion. That is a mistake that can result in a death that should have been avoided.
Misdiagnosis; Failure To Diagnose; Failure To Timely Diagnose
When we visit the doctor with complaints of pain, the doctor takes a history and does an examination. A well-trained doctor will not jump straight to making a diagnosis; instead, a well-trained doctor will rule out the different problems that might be causing the pain and then make a decision on the cause and the condition. The safest way for the doctor to arrive at his/her decision is by first ruling out the most serious conditions.
Take the following example: A 60-year-old male goes to his doctor with complaints of chest pain and of difficulty swallowing food. There is a chance that the patient has indigestion. However, it much more important for the doctor to first rule out the chance that the patient is having a heart attack.
If the doctor makes the wrong diagnosis (misdiagnosis), does not make a diagnosis (failure to diagnose) or tells the patient to only come back if the pain gets worse (failure to timely diagnose), there is a danger that the patient will not be treated for what might be a heart attack.
What Could The Doctors Have Done Differently?
Many cardiac malpractice cases involve a claim against and primary care doctor (PCP) and/or doctors in the emergency room (ER).
What could a regular doctor (PCP) have done differently with a patient who comes in with complaints that indicate a potential cardiac arrest? The doctor could immediately order an EKG or send the patient to the emergency room (ER). Of course, the problem is that an EKG that shows up as normal does not always tell the full story, especially if the patient already had a heart attack. The doctor must know that.
Emergency room doctors can end up making the same mistake as the primary care physicians if they fail to recognize the chance of a heart attack. An emergency room doctor who is faced with the chance of a heart attack must get immediate treatment for the patient.
Some cases involve claims that a cardiologist failed to do a proper workup for a patient who was referred by the regular doctor. After surviving a heart attack, a patient is at an increased risk of another heart attack. Those patients are usually treating with a cardiologist who might have not taken the proper steps to reduce the risk of a second heart attack.
Within a hospital, the medical record might have a note that a patient is showing signs and symptoms of heart problems. Bad outcomes can happen if a timely referral or treatment does not happen within the hospital.
But He Was Overweight And Smoked?
Many patients who suffer heart attacks have underlying health problems such as being overweight or a history of poor lifestyle choices. That means that the doctor must give extra attention to the possibility of a heart attack as a cause of the complaints of pain.
How Do I Know If I Have A Lawsuit?
For a New Jersey cardiac malpractice case, your lawyer will need to hire a doctor who specializes in the same area as the doctor you are suing. For example, if your loved one’s heart attack was misdiagnosed in the emergency room, your lawsuit will probably need experts in emergency medicine, nursing, internal medicine, and cardiology.
If the experts decide that the defendants were negligent, the case will do forward. However, that does not mean that there will be a successful lawsuit. The other side will fight the case and hire experts who will minimize the mistakes of the defendant.
How Long Does The Lawsuit Take?
New Jersey heart attack malpractice lawsuits usually take 2-3 years after filing the lawsuit.