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Why do doctors sometimes fail to recognize a heart attack?

It may be the season of joy. However, heart attacks and other heart-related events have been shown to spike over the holidays. Everything from shoveling snow to family dysfunction can contribute to cardiac issues this time of year. Further, people may be less likely to seek treatment if they experience symptoms while traveling or have a houseful of family.

It may seem impossible to believe that someone could ignore a heart attack or that a physician would fail to recognize one. However, it happens more often that you might think,

This is particularly true with women, who don't always experience the "traditional" signs of a heart attack. Heart disease is the number one killer of American women, and some never realized what was happening to them. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women's heart attack symptoms may manifest as pain in the jaw, neck, back and other areas besides the chest.

While we may not recognize a heart attack when it happens to us or a loved one, physicians are expected to recognize one -- or at least to perform the proper diagnostic tests to detect a heart attack. Prompt, correct diagnosis and treatment can mean the difference between life and death.

When physicians don't follow the standard of care with a patient who presents with symptoms that could indicate a heart attack, they may be able to be held liable for medical malpractice. This standard of care includes administering tests such as an EKG, correctly reading the test results and promptly admitting the patient to the hospital if a heart attack is indicated

Obviously, we'd all love to be sent home by the doctor and told that what we thought was a heart attack was indigestion or stress. However, sometimes doctors fail to take a patient's symptoms seriously enough to perform necessary testing or misread the test results. If you believe that your doctor hasn't taken sufficient steps to rule out a heart attack, speak up for yourself or your loved one. However, if a doctor's negligence harms or kills a patient, legal action may be in order.

At The Jasmer Law Firm, we work to hold physicians and other medical personnel accountable when they don't provide the recognized standard of care that patients have a right to expect. Contact us if you believe that you may have cause for a malpractice case.

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