Many people claim to know that they would recognize the symptoms of a heart attack if they or a loved one is afflicted. However, even medical professionals fail to diagnose heart disease with their own patients, causing or allowing harm to the people they are sworn to protect.
Late last year, results of a study conducted by the medical journal JAMA revealed that more than a third of people suffering from acute coronary disease – a blanket term for many conditions that indicate a blocked blood supply to the heart – do not experience chest pain. As chest pain is normally viewed as the classic symptom of a heart attack, patients suffering from deadly heart conditions are often misdiagnosed in emergency rooms, military hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
The problem is especially acute for women with heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, more women than men have died of strokes and heart conditions in the past 30 years and the gap continues to widen.
Patients who visit their doctors complaining of symptoms consistent with heart disease are too often misdiagnosed with one of two ailments:
- Asthma: Earlier this year, CBS News revealed that 25 to 30 percent of asthma patients actually do not suffer from asthma. In an effort to get quickly to their next patients, doctors may simply prescribe an inhaler when patients complain of shortness of breath or a chronic cough. Those symptoms, however, are also indicators of heart disease.
- Anxiety: Panic or anxiety attacks also share similar symptoms with heart disease. Too often, especially with women, healthcare practitioners fail to perform a thorough heart examine when a patient comes in with a racing heart, breathing difficulties or fatigue.
Help for military personnel
Instances of medical malpractice can occur at any medical facility, but veterans and military personnel deserve the best care our nation has to offer. If a veteran, active duty soldier or member of a military family suffers harm due to negligent treatment at a military facility, filing a claim for malpractice against the appropriate governmental agency may help. The following laws specifically provide assistance for veterans and active military personnel serving in the U.S. and abroad:
- The Federal Tort Claims Act
- Military Claims Act
It is important for all patients to be proactive about the healthcare they receive. If a military doctor does not pay attention to your complaints or brushes off your symptoms, seek a second opinion. If you have suffered at the hands of an inattentive doctor or other healthcare professional, seek the advice of an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Not only will you help prevent harm to future patients, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, lost wages, medical treatment and pain and suffering.