Would my doctor recognize a heart attack?

It doesn’t seem possible that something as serious and life altering as a heart attack could go untreated. Yet every day in emergency rooms, patients presenting heart attack symptoms in DC are sent home with a bill and a prescription for heartburn medication. 

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

What you may not know is that not all heart attack sufferers experience intense chest pain. Some lesser-known symptoms of heart attacks include:

  • Feeling dizzy, tired, or weak
  • Shortness of breath
  • Backaches
  • Chills
  • Indigestion symptoms, such as reflux
  • Irregular heart rhythm
  • Pain in the sides, stomach, neck or jaw
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Paleness
  • Sweating

When a heart attack happens, the patient experiences a lack of blood flow to the heart. If the patient receives treatment in time, the doctor may be able to save his life—but every minute the heart goes without blood, the heart tissue suffers. The muscle will become weakened, and if the patient survives he will likely experience a drastic decrease in quality of life: tiring easily, inability to do strenuous exercise, even permanent difficulty breathing.

It is vital that a physician be thorough when a patient shows any symptoms that could indicate a heart attack.  After reviewing your medical history and administering an exam, your doctor should perform further testing, such as an enzymatic blood test or electrocardiogram (EKG), to rule out myocardial infarction. If he failed to perform or interpret these crucial tests, your doctor may be guilty of negligence. 

Heart Attacks Are Often Misdiagnosed For A Separate Ailment

Since many symptoms do not necessarily point to a problem with the heart, a physician may misdiagnose a heart attack as one of these common ailments:

  • Heartburn
  • GERD
  • General aging
  • Influenza
  • Acid reflux
  • Anxiety
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Angina
  • Panic attack

The surest way to prevent a massive heart attack is to recognize early warning signs, such as mild chest pain or ongoing discomfort. A Virginia heart attack misdiagnosis can happen when patients are dismissed without testing, but also when test results are misinterpreted. An overwhelmed ER staff may be tempted to send a patient with chest pain and clear test results home, but that doesn’t excuse improper care.

Contact a Local Fairfax Malpractice Lawyer

Get advice from a trusted Virginia medical malpractice lawyer to find out if your physician is liable. Call Shevlin Smith today at (703) 591-0067 today for a consultation in your medical malpractice case.

Michael J. Shevlin
Connect with me
Specializing in medical malpractice and serious personal injury cases since 1994.