Washington, D.C. Heart Attack Misdiagnosis Lawyers
Help for victims whose heart disease & conditions were not diagnosed
At Paulson & Nace, PLLC, we know how to determine if your undiagnosed heart attack or condition was a sign of negligence. For more than 40 years, our family law firm has helped Washington, D.C. families just like yours whose loves ones suffered because of a delayed or missed diagnosis. We are a team of skilled trial attorneys who advocate aggressively on behalf of our injured clients, and who are not afraid to stand up to large insurance companies who put their profits before your health.
The facts about heart disease
Heart disease affects millions of Americans every single day. Washington, D.C., ranks 12th in the nation in preventable cardiovascular disease deaths. About 655,000 Americans die from heart disease every single year – approximately one quarter of all deaths nationwide. High cholesterol and high blood pressure and smoking are the leading risk factors, but obesity due to a bad diet and limited exercise can also increase the risk. When doctors talk about heart conditions, they usually mean one of the following:
- Congenital defects. These are conditions present at birth and require close monitoring. As children grow, failing to keep an eye on the heart can place their health in jeopardy requiring emergency surgeries with unknown outcomes instead of correcting issues before they become dire.
- Defective or weak heart valves. The heart valve you are born with can begin to fail over time sometimes requiring a valve replacement. If a leaky valve is not diagnosed early enough it can end in congestive heart failure and wrongful death. If a leaky valve is caught early enough, in some cases they can be managed through use of medication. A delayed diagnosis puts you at risk for surgical errors and anesthesia errors in order to replace your heart valve.
- Cardiovascular disease. This is a category of conditions that affect the heart including diseases of the blood vessel and heart muscle. These conditions can be brought on by lifestyle, genetics, or previous illness that all should be considered by your doctor when diagnosing you.
- Cardiomyopathy. This condition results in your heart’s inability to pump blood throughout your body and can cause heart failure. The severity guides the treatment, which can range from medication to heart transplant. Again, delaying diagnosis can mean the difference between non-invasive treatment and dangerous surgery.
- Arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat). Tests need to be conducted to determine when the electric pulse in your heart gets thrown off track. Treatment may involve surgical implantation of a pacemaker that that can sometimes cause more harm than good.
- Infections. Endocarditis is a common infection that comes from germs entering your body through your blood stream and inflaming the inner lining of your heart. Certain factors place you at higher risk for this infection and may require giving you preventative antibiotics before certain procedures such as dental work.
Cardiovascular disease affects the blood vessels, whereas coronary heart disease affects the arteries. In both cases, there is a buildup of plaque; this narrows the vessels or arteries, respectively, leading to an increased chance of heart attack or stroke.
Common symptoms of a heart attack in men
Many people assume that having a heart attack happens the way it does on television, but in truth the symptoms can vary. Though the most obvious symptom is chest pain, victims may also experience:
- Feelings of light-headedness or vertigo, or difficulty catching one’s breath (which may lead to light-headedness)
- Nausea and excessive sweating
- Sudden onset of anxiety
- Discomfort or pain in the arms, wrists, neck, back or abdomen
- Heartburn or indigestion
Without the expected heart pain, a person in the throes of a heart attack may believe he or she is having a panic attack. In cases where victims suffer a series of mild heart attacks, one may think he or she came down with the flu. This is why it is crucial that your doctor examine your heart if you have a family history or personal medical history of heart conditions. Doctors who do not recognize the signs of a heart attack, do not take a properly medical history, use the wrong medications to treat the attack, or do not advise patients of their personal risk of developing heart disease can ultimately contribute to a person’s poor health or untimely death. At Paulson & Nace, we handle complex failure to diagnose cases where a medical professional fails to protect or commits additional harm by misdiagnosing or failing to diagnose heart disease.
Why Washington, D.C. Doctors miss heart attacks in women
For decades when most people heard the words “heart attack” their thoughts gravitated toward men because men used to be the leader in heart disease but that’s no longer the case. More women die of heart disease every year, which has been the case for decades. This is partially related to the fact that women live longer in general, and experience heart attacks later in life than men do, but that’s not the only reason.
Women can experience different symptoms than men do, which went largely ignored for years. There is still a lot of education that needs to take place to help doctors recognize when women are having heart attacks. Some of this revolves around removing from their mindset the stereotypical heart attack signs in men. Willfully failing to believe women who present with different symptoms are experiencing a heart attack delays treatment. In many cases this blatant medical malpractice causes their unnecessary deaths.
You can trust in us if your doctor failed to diagnose your heart condition or disease
Dealing with an illness is difficult; choosing the right lawyer to protect your family does not have to be. Paulson & Nace, PLLC, has successfully represented malpractice victims throughout Washington, D.C. If you believe your doctor’s failure to diagnose a heart condition led to more catastrophic consequences for you or your family member, we want to hear your story. Please call 202.463.1999 or fill out our contact form to learn more.