A Heart Attack Cannot Be Diagnosed In Seven Minutes
Little Rock, AR (Law Firm Newswire) May 9, 2014 – Emergency medical care can be a minefield for misdiagnosis and hospital errors.
“Emergency medical care is often sought in crisis situations. People arriving in the E.R. for care are often swiftly assessed and sorted out according to their symptoms. While triage is effective in most instances, it can also result in medical negligence. You can’t diagnose a heart attack in seven minutes,” points out Michael Smith, an Arkansas hospital error lawyer.
Misdiagnosis means missing the symptoms and in doing so, potentially causing harm to a patient needing care. In most cases, medical misdiagnosis is the result of a medical professional not spending enough time with someone seeking care. In fact, CNN revealed recently that the average length of time a family doctor spends with a patient has dramatically dropped within the last ten years. At the family doctor care level, physicians spend a mere seven minutes with patients. At the E.R. the time period is even less, as doctors must hastily move patients along.
“Not spending enough time with someone to get a good understanding of their symptoms is just asking for trouble,” says Smith. Things get missed, and one of the things missed are heart attacks.
In the U.S. there are over one million acute myocardial infarctions every year, with many victims presenting with chest pain, but there are other symptoms that also need to be evaluated, such as: dizziness, back pain, fatigue, headache and indigestion. These are often the more subtle signals that may accompany a heart attack. However, many with these kinds of symptoms are often given painkillers, told to ice or heat their back, get some sleep, slow down or take Tums. While the patient follows these orders, they may be experiencing a serious coronary.
“The issue is that misdiagnosis means a patient does not get the correct treatment. If the correct diagnosis were made, they would receive the right kind of effective thrombolytic agents to dissolve or break up blood clots as a result of a stroke or heart attack. This therapy needs to be given within three hours of the symptoms. Delay may mean serious injury or death for the patient,” Smith explains.
A properly qualified medical malpractice lawyer is the right person to speak with in the case of a misdiagnosed heart attack or stroke.
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