Misdiagnosis of a Heart Attack, Stroke, Cancer, or Infection
If you have suffered from a heart attack, stroke, cancer, or any type of infection, you know very well how difficult the experience can be. If you had obvious symptoms or signs that a doctor should have noticed and did your best to get medical care, it can be especially frustrating when these conditions are missed and not properly diagnosed. Misdiagnose of these conditions and others can result in worsening conditions, permanent medical problems in the aftermath, and serious medical bills. These types of issues can be classified as medical malpractice and you may be able to sue for compensation.
How Misdiagnosis Occurs with Medical Professionals
In the medical field, there are established standards of care in place that a doctor is meant to follow when treating, diagnosing, and helping any of their patients. Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor fails to execute this standard of care and their negligence then causes harm to another. Misdiagnosis often occurs due to not following proper procedures or being thorough. Misdiagnosis can be missing a condition all together or mistaking it for another.
Common causes of misdiagnosis:
- Not ordering tests that should have been considered and executed to test symptoms of a patient
- Mistaking one condition for another due to similar symptomatology
- Not properly examining patient medical history or other data
- Not assessing current medications and how they could be affecting the patient
Examples of Failure to Diagnose Medical Conditions
There is a long list of medical conditions and diseases out there with symptoms that overlap and that can be misdiagnosed. Certain conditions, however, can have much more serious consequences if they are misdiagnosed. Heart attack, stroke, cancer, and infection are some of the most common and more serious conditions that have been seen in misdiagnosis cases.
Misdiagnosis of a Heart Attack
Failing to diagnose a heart attack is very serious and often can result in permanent and serious heart damage and can often result in death. Certain health conditions like a heart attack or stroke can become deadly a lot faster and are much more of a problem when missed. Chest pain, sweating, nausea, arm/back/shoulder pain, and shortness of breath are common symptoms of a heart attack but are also seen in a plethora of other conditions. Heart attack could be misdiagnosed as issues stemming from anxiety or panic, muscle injuries from physical strain, digestive issues, etc. Misdiagnosis can occur when the doctor fails to take symptoms seriously and check for possible heart attack such as running stress tests, cardiac enzyme analysis, or and echo or electrocardiogram.
Misdiagnosis of a Stroke
Strokes need to be diagnosed as soon as possible to avoid permanent mental or physical damage to the patient. Strokes blocks the brain’s access to oxygen through the blood which can permanently damage mental capacity, memory, motor skills, and speaking abilities. Strokes often come with weakness, numbness of the face/arms/legs, confusion, dizziness, headaches, loss of balance, vision issues, etc. Some doctors can mistake some of these symptoms as oncoming severe migraines or seizures. Other times the symptoms aren’t very intense and easily overlooked.
Misdiagnosis of Cancer
Cancer is running rampant across America and claims the lives of many every single year. It is commonly known that the earlier that cancer cells or tumors are notices, the better chance that chemo and other cancer treatments will be effective and that the patient can recover and survive. Unfortunately, a lot of times obvious symptoms are not present until later stages of most types of cancer.
It is important to note that some cancers don’t have much of an advantage of being cured simply by being found sooner. Examples of these are brain, small cell, and certain pancreatic cancers. These are often not curable due to the way the cancer progress and develops and where they are located. Naturally chemo to the brain can cause severe damage to the brain itself. Other types, however, like skin, breast, or lung cancer, benefit highly from early detection and present symptoms that should be detectable by a licensed medical professional. Dermatologists should notice a strange and growing mole and OBYG/N professionals should notice lumps on a woman’s breast during an annual checkup.
Misdiagnosis of Infection
Infections can grow quickly and spread to other parts of the body. Without proper diagnosis and treatment, parts of the body can be overrun by bacteria and the infection can get into the blood resulting in sepsis. Usually, an infection is easily detectable well before then. Usually, infections that are dangerous and easier to misdiagnosis are those inside the body. For instance, bacterial meningitis can be mistaken for the flu and can spread quickly and cause inflammation near the brain and spinal cord, which can cause death.
Contact a Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Misdiagnosis Case in Pennsylvania
Were you or a loved one injured due to medical malpractice in Pennsylvania? Then you need to talk to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed. The Pittsburgh medical malpractice attorneys at Berger & Lagnese, LLC are prepared to assist you with your legal claim. We represent victims of negligent surgeons, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists throughout Pennsylvania, including Greensburg, Indiana, New Castle, and Uniontown. Call us today at (412) 471-4300 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation. Our main office is located at 310 Grant St #720, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.