If you were recently in the ER after a bout of nausea and shortness of breath, your doctor may have prescribed some heartburn medication and a few days’ rest. After all, these are fairly typical symptoms of gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD), treatable with a regular course of antacids.
However, vomiting and chest tightness are also classic signs of an imminent heart attack, leading many misdiagnosed patients to return to the ER for emergency surgery days after their first visit.
These overlapping symptoms are just one of the major causes of misdiagnosed heart attacks in Kentucky.
- Wrong tests. Patients in the ER are commonly given a blood test to detect troponin, an enzyme that leaks into the bloodstream after cardiac tissue has been damaged. However, this test can only confirm if you had a heart attack or are in the process of having one--not whether one is imminent.
- Wrong symptoms. Although chest pain is a common heart attack symptom, women are less likely to have chest pain in the event of a heart attack than men. Women usually present with gastro-intestinal (GI) symptoms such as vomiting and upset stomach before a heart attack occurs, encouraging misdiagnosis.
- Wrong assessment. Since women are not typically seen as high-risk patients for heart attacks, they are more likely to be diagnosed with GI conditions and anxiety disorders than coronary distress.
As the symptoms for GERD and heart attacks are so similar, it is up to your doctor to perform all necessary tests to make sure you have received the correct diagnosis. If a doctor’s negligence caused you the death of a family member, we can help you hold him accountable for your loss.
Contact the experienced Louisville medical malpractice attorneys at Gray and White today to find out your legal options in your FREE case evaluation. Call 800.634.8767 or fill out the contact form on the top of this page to get started.