It’s estimated that half of all heart attacks are mistaken for less serious conditions. If you believe your healthcare provider failed to diagnose or misdiagnosed a heart attack, contact one of our heart attack attorneys in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Should My Doctor Have Tested for a Heart Attack?
A misdiagnosed or undiagnosed heart attack can cause irreparable damage and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to treat. This is where a heart attack attorney in St. Petersburg, Florida may be able to help.
While the medical community has developed proficient methods and tools for diagnosing potential heart issues, it’s not uncommon for these threats to go undetected. Diagnosing a heart attack begins with identifying the symptoms. Common signs of a heart attack include:
- Chest pain centered around the heart or radiating out toward the neck, jaw, arms, back, or abdomen.
- Chest pain that is described by the patient as constricting, crushing, indigestion, heartburn, or fullness.
- Accompanying symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath, fainting, vomiting, or lightheadedness.
A healthcare provider evaluating a patient with such complaints should look for additional symptoms of a heart attack, including:
- Pale skin
- Cool and clammy hands and feet
- Irregular pulse
- Cognitive disorientation
- Low-grade fever
- Bulging or distended jugular vein
- Abnormal breath sounds
If a patient presents with any complaints consistent with a heart attack and the healthcare provider has found other symptoms that suggest the patient is at risk, he or she should order further diagnostic testing. However, there are many reasons why doctors fail to take this next step. For instance, a less experienced medical professional might overlook the common symptoms of a heart attack. Alternatively, errors during diagnostic testing could make it difficult for healthcare providers to arrive at an accurate diagnosis.
What Are the Risks of a Misdiagnosed Heart Attack?
A “missed” heart attack can have dire consequences for the victim. Numerous studies have shown that these mistakes can significantly increase the patient’s risk of death. Even patients who survive an undiagnosed heart attack are more likely to experience complications than those who received the correct diagnosis. One study claims that almost 75 percent of patients were readmitted to the hospital after a heart attack was misdiagnosed, while only a quarter of those who were accurately diagnosed required further hospitalization for their condition.
Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim
Suffering a heart attack can turn your life upside down. Your normal routines may be replaced by doctor’s visits, calls from the insurer, and the hard work of healing. You might also have incurred thousands of dollars in medical expenses, a financial burden that can derail your plans and put immense strain on your emotional well-being and relationships. This is why it’s so important to speak with a heart attack lawyer in St. Petersburg, Florida if you or someone you love has suffered malpractice.
While filing a negligence claim won’t take away the pain, it may give you the funds you need to feel “whole” again. However, pursuing damages is no easy task; you will need to collect evidence, build your case, and navigate a world of complex legal proceedings. Fortunately, an attorney can take the reins and guide you through this challenging chapter.
Here are the three factors your attorney will need to prove to help you obtain a financial award:
- Liability: You must show that your healthcare provider’s behavior was negligent, malicious, or reckless. For instance, if you presented with common symptoms of a heart attack during an appointment, but your doctor failed to order the necessary tests, your attorney may argue that a prudent healthcare provider would have spotted these early signs and prevented your condition from worsening.
- Causation: You must show that there is a link between the doctor’s negligence and the injuries you suffered; this is known as causation. For example, if your heart condition was misdiagnosed as heartburn, your attorney may assert that your condition went untreated for longer than it would have had you received the correct diagnosis.
- Damages: Between the hospital stay, consultations, prescription medication, surgeries, and other interventions, treating a misdiagnosed heart attack can cost a small fortune. To obtain a financial award, you will need to demonstrate the damages you’ve suffered. Damages can include the additional medical expenses you’ve incurred, lost wages if you were unable to work, compensation for pain and suffering, and a range of other losses.
How Much Is My Heart Attack Case Worth?
The financial award in a heart attack case can vary based on a wide range of factors. As such, it’s impossible to approximate the exact amount you will receive until we’ve conducted an in-depth investigation into the circumstances of your situation.
Below are a few factors our attorneys may consider:
- Medical Bills: Left unchecked, a heart condition can cause untold damage. Many victims must undergo surgery, purchase medication, and dramatically alter their lifestyles in the wake of an attack. As such, medical costs tend to make up a major portion of a financial award in a medical malpractice case. The potential recovery can account for both the care you’ve received in the past and interventions you are—due to the “missed” heart attack—likely to require in the future.
- Lost Earnings: Many heart attack victims are sidelined from work, forced to watch weeks of wages go down the drain. It’s a cruel fate during these dark days as you may have no way to start paying off your mounting medical expenses. Fortunately, you might be able to pursue damages for any wages lost due to the misdiagnosed heart attack. If your condition will make it difficult or impossible to return to the same line of work in the future, you may also be able to pursue compensation for diminished earning capacity. Your Florida heart attack attorney might consult with a vocational expert to determine the value of such damages.
- Pain and Suffering: In the moment, a heart attack can be incredibly painful, but the agony doesn’t start and end during that traumatic event. Many victims will suffer in the days, weeks, or months following a serious heart attack. Pain can drastically reduce your quality of life, making it difficult to focus on your work, relationships, and hobbies. As such, victims have a right to seek compensation for the psychological impacts of their injuries. Your attorney may advise you to start a personal injury journal to track the symptoms of your condition, pain levels, limitations, and medication side effects. This diary could help you prove non-economic damages including pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of life enjoyment.
- Other Expenses: From meals at the hospital to alternative transportation to home modifications, you may be strapped with a range of unanticipated expenses after suffering a misdiagnosed heart attack. You should compile all invoices and receipts related to such costs to share with your attorney during your initial consultation.
Can I Use Social Media After Suffering a “Missed” Heart Attack?
In the modern era, social media has become one of the primary ways we stay connected with friends and family. After suffering a heart attack, the digital space could be one of your first stops as you search for guidance, emotional support, and a place to vent your frustrations.
However, posting about mistakes made by your medical team or other elements of your case could lead to disputes when you file your claim. The insurer and other opposing parties may be screening your feeds for any pictures, comments, or even reviews that could be used to challenge your case.
At Emerson Straw PL, our attorneys may advise you to disable your accounts so that you don’t post something that could hurt your chances of recovering a fair settlement. However, we understand that this may not be possible in your situation.
Call (727) 821-1500 to Discuss Your Case with a Heart Attack Attorney in St. Petersburg, Florida
At Emerson Straw PL, we are committed to holding negligent healthcare providers financially accountable for the damages they cause. Our heart attack attorneys have decades of combined experience overseeing medical malpractice claims. As such, we know what it takes to succeed both in and out of court. Call (727) 821-1500 or click through to our Contact Form to book a free consultation with a heart attack attorney.