Cardiac Negligence. Delay in Diagnosis or Misdiagnosis of Heart Attack

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It seem obvious when a patient has a heart attack, but in many cases the symptoms may not that obvious to the lay-person – but they should be to a qualified medical practitioner.

Accurately and quickly identifying that a patient has suffered a heart attack is extremely important because the outcomes for heart attack victims are very strongly linked to the length of time between the outset of cardiac arrest and receiving direct treatment.

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    These symptoms are often mistaken for heartburn by patient and doctor alike, with fatal results

    A heart attack occurs when one of the coronary arteries becomes blocked and the heart muscle is deprived of blood. The longer it takes for the blockage to be cleared – either with drugs or through cardiac catheterization – the more damage is inflicted on the heart muscle. Delays in treatment can lead to heart failure, either shortly after the initial event or in the months or years following if damaged heart muscle leads to congestive heart failure.

    More than one-fifth of men and a quarter of women over the age of 45 die within a year of their first heart attack. In most cases, this is due to delays on the part of the patient in seeking treatment for chest pain, but the medical professionals have a clear responsibility to identify the symptoms of cardiac arrest and to treat it with the utmost urgency.

    Symptoms of an impending heart attack include pressure building in the chest and pain in the left arm. Unfortunately, these symptoms are often mistaken for heartburn by patient and doctor alike, with fatal results.

    Can I sue the NHS?

    Before making a claim it is worth taking note of the following point.

    Check that your medical issues are grounds for negligence, and not a simple complaint procedure. Complaints about procedure dissatisfaction, or seeking an apology / admission for lack of care / treatment should go to PALS. Read more about suing the nhs.

    When you might have a claim

    Injury, continuous pain or loss due to the act of a practitioner or general lack of care at the NHS is an entirely different matter. You might very well have a claim. The duty of care might have been breached meaning the health care professional/s did not provide the expected level of care. If you believe you deserve compensation you may have a medical negligence claimRead more about how to claim against the NHS here.

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    If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to negligence please contact one of our specialist solicitors on 0333 987 4161 to discuss your claim.

    In The News

    The NHS made a near record payout to the parents of a girl left brain damaged after a jaundice treatment went terribly wrong.

    The girl, now 9 years old, was awarded £19 million (the top end for brain injury claims) after being born with severe jaundice and treatment being delayed by Kings College Hospital. The NHS lawyers accepted that there had been shortcomings in her care and agreed to settle the claim.

    The girl’s lawyers claimed that, had medics carried out a complete blood exchange, she may very well have escaped the permanent injury she has been left with.

    Alexander Hutton QC for the trust said “This case did highlight shortcomings in the care that was provided.
    “We are extremely sorry for those shortcomings and I am told that the trust has worked hard to ensure that this will not happen again in the future.”

    In a recent judgement handed down by the UK Supreme Court, Croydon Health Services NHS Trust found itself blamed for incorrect information about waiting times given to an assault victim by a non-clinically trained hospital receptionist. Consequently, the patient, Michael Darnley, suffered severe and lasting consequences.

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