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Heart Attack Misdiagnosis Risks Are Higher for Women

Nichol & Associates, Attorneys at Law Dec. 28, 2021

A doctor could potentially misdiagnose a heart attack in a man or a woman, but the odds that such a thing will happen are not the same for both. Studies have found that women see these types of misdiagnosis errors far more often than men, and they can have a dramatic impact.

For instance, a doctor could see a young woman who is actually having a heart attack but diagnose her with something like stress or acid reflux. He could send her home, telling her to get some rest and maybe take an over-the-counter pain medication. If she’s having a heart attack and goes home to rest, she might never wake up. A situation that might have been treated in the hospital could easily prove fatal. This is a critical problem in medical centers in Tennessee and across the United States.

Why Does It Happen?

One of the biggest reasons that this happens is that women experiencing a heart attack tend to have different symptoms than men do in the same situation. For men, the stereotypical symptom – chest pain – is the most common indicator. It is not always the present for women, though.

While it is true that some women will have chest pain, they more often complain about things like neck pain, nausea or dizziness. Many of them will feel like they are having severe heartburn or that perhaps they ate something that didn’t sit well with them. These are actually indicators of a heart attack, but a doctor may quickly go over the symptoms and decide that it’s nothing serious. Without that chest pain component, the doctor might not automatically consider heart-related maladies.

What if your doctor misses a diagnosis?

If your doctor makes a mistake like this, overlooking your symptoms and negligently missing a diagnosis, you need to know how to seek financial compensation for your medical bills. You may also be able to seek compensation if you’ve lost a loved one due to a physician’s negligence.