When a person begins to feel pain, discomfort, or like something is not right, they may still not be sure if it is something minor or a medical emergency. However, there are two symptoms that almost always necessitate a trip to the hospital: shortness of breath and chest pain.
Chest pain is a sign and symptom of a number of cardiovascular problems, including a heart attack. When an emergency room physician sees a patient complaining of chest pain, they may conduct some tests and evaluations to determine if the patient may be experiencing a heart attack or rule out a heart attack and look for other cardiac problems.
When a patient in Cambridge went to the hospital complaining of chest pain, he was later released without the proper care to get a follow-up evaluation for other heart damage and later died of a heart attack. His family filed a heart attack malpractice lawsuit to hold the doctors accountable.
Patient's Treatment After Chest Pain
Robby Lee Ward, 59, was an insurance salesman in Massachusetts. One day, he began to experience chest pain and was rushed to the Mount Auburn Hospital. During the pre-hospital care, Ward was given aspirin by paramedics.
At the hospital, the doctors determined Ward had not suffered a heart attack. During a follow-up visit with his primary care physician, Ward was advised to stop taking aspirin. Ward was not advised to see a cardiologist or get a follow-up to determine if there were other coronary problems behind the chest pain.
Aspirin is a common over-the-counter regimen for people at risk of a heart attack. Aspirin acts as a blood thinner to reduce blood clots that can cause a heart attack.
A few months later, Ward died of a heart attack. An autopsy determined ward had suffered from previous heart damage and coronary heart disease. The family could not believe that the doctors had not done more to diagnose heart disease when Ward was complaining of chest pain only months earlier.
In a medical malpractice lawsuit, a jury found that Ward's doctor was negligent in his care and treatment. The jury awarded Ward's wife and children up to $5.8 million in damages.
Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack
Signs and symptoms of a heart attack can be tricky. Some people do not feel any signs of a heart attack and die suddenly without any warning. Signs of a possible heart attack or other coronary problem may include:
- Tightness in the chest
- Chest pain
- Pain radiating to the back, neck, shoulders, and arms
- Shortness of breath
- Cold sweats
- Dizziness or weakness
- Nausea and vomiting
Women and men may also experience the warning signs of a heart attack differently. Women may feel pain in either arm, not just the left arm. Pain may also be felt in the jaw or back. Sweating or feeling something like hot flashes may also be misinterpreted as something other than a heart attack for women. Fatigue is another common warning sign of a heart attack for women.
Heart Attack Malpractice
Patients who go to the emergency room expect that the doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals will provide a certain level of care, to relieve pain, provide answers, and help protect them facing a medical emergency. Unfortunately, not all doctors provide the same level of care. A careless doctor can leave the patient facing an increased risk of harm, including a fatal heart attack. If you or a loved one was injured because of medical negligence, call Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation.