Although heart disease is one of the leading causes of death, doctors can still misdiagnose the condition. Our heart disease misdiagnosis attorneys in St. Petersburg, Florida can review your case in a free consultation to determine whether you have grounds for a cardiology malpractice claim and how best to proceed.
It may be possible to hold the at-fault healthcare provider or facility accountable for damages including medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. Contact us today at (727) 821-1500 to schedule a free consultation.
Why Might a Heart Disease Misdiagnosis Happen?
A “missed” heart attack can be devastating. Victims may develop chronic chest pain, arrhythmia, or suffer heart failure. Treating heart conditions can often cost a small fortune. It’s not unheard of for patients to incur hundreds of thousands of dollars in healthcare costs, and many will require long-term care. This is where a heart disease misdiagnosis attorney in St. Petersburg, Florida may be able to help.
While healthcare providers have become adept at testing for life-threatening cardiac conditions, it’s not uncommon for the signs of heart disease to be confused with symptoms of a less serious illness. For instance, a physician may mistake classic heart attack symptoms for acid reflux, angina, anxiety, bronchitis, gallstones, heartburn, or musculoskeletal pain.
Below are a few common reasons heart attacks are misdiagnosed:
- The physician failed to recognize the warning signs of a heart attack. For instance, women often present with atypical heart attack symptoms while younger patients do not fit the traditional risk profile for cardiac arrest and thus the doctor may not be looking for signs of heart disease.
- The healthcare provider failed to order the necessary diagnostic testing.
- The doctor misunderstood or misread MRI, EKG, carotid ultrasound, blood test, or other lab results.
- The medical provider failed to follow up with the patient after receiving lab results.
If you believe your healthcare provider committed errors during treatment, you might have grounds for a medical malpractice claim. An attorney can assess your case and may arrange for medical experts to review your records to determine whether your doctor or the facility breached the duty of care owed to you.
How Much Might My Heart Disease Misdiagnosis Claim Be Worth?
An unanticipated heart attack or other complication can feel like an ambush. In an instant, you’ve likely been ripped from your normal routines and forced to take your first steps on the long, painful, and challenging road to recovery. To make matters worse, recovery often comes with a substantial price tag.
When they contact us, most victims have one question at the top of their minds: “How much is my claim worth?” Unfortunately, there are no concrete answers. There are many factors that could influence the outcome of your medical malpractice case. Our attorneys will need to thoroughly investigate your claim before we can estimate the potential value of your losses.
Below are a few factors that could affect your financial award:
- Were You Unable to Work Due to Your Condition? If a “missed” heart attack left you unable to work for any period, these lost wages could be factored into the potential recovery. Some victims are unable to earn a living for months due to complications stemming from the misdiagnosis, causing them to miss out on thousands of dollars in wages. As such, compensation for lost income could make up a major portion of your financial award. The value of such losses can depend on a variety of factors such as the duration you were unable to work, your salary before suffering the heart attack, and whether your condition will prevent you from returning to work in the future.
- Have You Experienced High Levels of Pain? When a heart attack strikes, it can be incredibly painful. However, the suffering often doesn’t begin and end in that traumatic moment. Many victims experience persistent chest pain and other symptoms for weeks after the incident. Some may suffer for the rest of their lives. While the psychological effects of your condition are difficult to quantify, compensation for these intangible losses may form a major portion of your settlement of verdict. Your lawyer might ask you to start a personal injury journal to log your pain levels, keep track of your doctor’s instructions, note any medication side effects, and describe your limitations. Your journal could play a critical role in proving non-economic damages such as emotional distress, loss of life enjoyment, and pain and suffering.
- Will You Require Long-Term Care? Prevention is almost always cheaper than the cure. As such, receiving the correct diagnosis can mean the difference between digging into your savings and filing for bankruptcy. Medical bills almost always make up a significant portion of a claimant’s financial award. Common expenses include surgeries, prescription medication, physical therapy, consultations with specialists, and other healthcare interventions. Keep in mind that compensation isn’t just limited to treatment you’ve received thus far but can also include medical expenses that—due to the misdiagnosis—you are likely to incur in the future.
- Did You Incur Any Other Expenses? From arranging childcare while you’re in the hospital to paying for alternative transportation, a misdiagnosed heart attack can pack many hidden costs. As such, you should make sure to track your expenses diligently by compiling any receipts and invoices related to your condition.
What Should I Bring to My Initial Consultation with the Lawyer?
Meeting with a heart disease misdiagnosis lawyer in St. Petersburg, Florida is more than just an opportunity to find out more about the type of representation they provide. Your initial consultation will also give the attorney a chance to assess the merits of your claim, review any evidence you’ve collected, and discuss your options. As such, you may be wondering how you can prepare for your consultation to maximize this opportunity.
Here are a few items you may want to bring to your initial consultation:
- Medical Records: The severity of your symptoms can have a major influence over the potential value of your claim. Your official medical records can provide an overview of your condition and the treatment you’ve received. Not only will the insurer want to see these documents to assess your damages, but your attorney may also rely on these details to guide their investigation and develop strategies to help you pursue a financial award. For instance, he or she may consult with a cardiologist to determine whether—based on your medical records—your healthcare provider deviated from the applicable standards of care.
- Invoices and Receipts: Compensation in a medical malpractice case isn’t just limited to your medical costs; misdiagnosed heart disease can have a ripple effect across all aspects of your life. For instance, you may be unable to take care of your children while you’re in the hospital, you may have to make home modifications to accommodate your condition, or you might have to arrange alternative transportation to attend doctor’s appointments. These costs might be recoverable as part of your claim. As such, you should bring related invoices and receipts to your initial consultation. Your attorney can review this evidence to determine which costs could be factored into settlement estimations.
- Work-Related Documents: Whether you were stuck in the hospital recuperating or instructed by your doctor to rest, if you had to take any time off work, you may be able to seek compensation for lost income. You will need to provide proof of these lost wages such as pay stubs, letters from your employer, bank statements, and income tax returns. Bring these documents along to your initial consultation. Your attorney may call on economists and vocational experts to review these documents and determine the value of any wages you’ve lost.
- Your Personal Injury Journal: From the moment the medical complication arises, you should be taking notes during follow-ups and consultations. What did your physicians say? What medication were you prescribed? Were you given any instructions? These notes will form one part of your personal injury journal, a diary you can use to log your pain levels, describe any limitations, and jot down medication side effects. Your attorney may want to see your journal to determine whether you have a case for intangible losses such as pain and suffering.
- Correspondence with Your Healthcare Provider: During treatment, you may have corresponded directly with your doctor or the healthcare facility. Whether it was via email, text, or over the phone, any communications you can share with your attorney could be useful when filing your claim. For instance, if you said something that might lead to disputes over causation, your lawyer can help gather the necessary evidence to counter such disputes.
Connect with a Heart Disease Misdiagnosis Attorney in St. Petersburg, Florida
If you believe your healthcare provider failed to diagnose or misdiagnosed a serious condition, turn to the heart disease misdiagnosis attorneys at Emerson Straw PL. We have decades of collective experience handling medical malpractice and personal injury claims. During this time, we have helped our clients obtain more than $27 million in the form of settlements and verdicts. To discuss your options for pursuing damages, dial (727) 821-1500 or complete our contact form HERE.