Not Treated Right Away During Heart Attack in Oregon: Could that be Medical Malpractice?

emergency room delays delay in diagnosing a heart attack

Understanding When Delays in Treatment are Medical Malpractice in Oregon


Almost everyone knows, children and adults alike, that a heart attack is a very serious medical emergency. If a person with a heart attack is not treated in a timely manner, it can lead to cardiac damage or even death. While most physicians and health care providers know just how serious and life threatening a heart attack is, and take a patient’s possible heart attack symptoms seriously, unfortunately this does not always happen. When a provider fails to diagnose a heart attack, it can lead to deadly consequences. This is never acceptable. 


But determining when a heart attack can be medical malpractice is a very difficult situation.  There are many factors that can effect when and how a patient must be treated for this medical emergency.  Not all victims who are not treated right away during a heart attack in Oregon could be victims of medical malpractice.  But there are instances when even minor delays could result in medical malpractice against a healthcare provider, including claims of very serious and fatal injuries due to the mistakes in treating a patient who is suffering the clear signs of a heart attack.  Learn how this can be Oregon medical malpractice in a hospital, doctor’s office, or other emergency facility.


Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack) Explained


A heart attack occurs when blood flow leading to the heart is blocked. This is usually due to a blood clot. Blood clots often occur due to plaque buildup. When oxygenated blood is unable to circulate through the heart, this causes the heart muscle to die, leading to death or permanent heart damage.  A person with a heart attack may present with the following symptoms:


  • Chest pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Fatigue
  • Jaw pain
  • Profuse sweating
  • Weakness
  • Abdominal pain
  • The feeling of heavy pressure on their chest


Unfortunately, in the absence of chest pain but with some of those other symptoms, a physician may overlook a patient experiencing a heart attack without performing additional testing. 


Heart Attack Diagnosis


Heart attacks are most commonly diagnosed with the following:


  • EKG
  • Echocardiogram
  • Cardiac MRI/CT
  • Chest X-ray
  • Coronary catheterization
  • Blood work (i.e troponin) 


Treatment for a Heart Attack


According to the American Heart Association, the treatment for a heart attack depends very much on the degree of blockage the person is experiencing. There are two main types of blockages and they are referred to as the following:


NSTEMI – NSTEMI refers to non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction. In this case, the blockage is not complete, only partial. 


STEMI – STEMI stands for ST-elevation myocardial infarction. STEMIs are considered to be complete blockages which are much more serious. 


Treatment is often guided by the type of blockage you are experiencing, but may include the following:


  • Anticoagulant and antiplatelet agents help by inhibiting blood clot formation
  • Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG)
  • Percutaneous coronary intervention (i.e stenting)
  • Angioplasty
  • Artificial heart valve surgery
  • Atherectomy 
  • Cariomyoplasty
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Heart transplant
  • Laser angioplasty
  • Bypass surgery
  • Stent procedure
  • Transmyocardial revascularization
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE)
  • Angiotensin II receptor blocker
  • Angiotensin receptor neprilysin inhibitor
  • Beta blocker
  • Calcium channel blocker
  • Medication that lowers cholesterol
  • Diuretics
  • Digitalis preparation
  • Combination of alpha and beta blockers
  • Vasodilator


How Can a Delay in Heart Attack Diagnosis be due to Medical Malpractice? 


While a delay in heart attack diagnosis can be the fault of the patient (i.e if they delay seeking treatment), there are some instances in which a delay in diagnosis can be the fault of the physician or other healthcare provider. Examples of delay in heart attack diagnosis due to medical malpractice include the following:


  • Failure to order diagnostic tests needed to diagnose a heart attack (i.e. BNP, EKG)
  • Failure to properly triage a patient
  • Discharge of a patient with heart attack symptoms
  • Leaving patient with heart attack symptoms unattended
  • Misinterpretation of diagnostic test results
  • Failing to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack
  • Failing to obtain complete health history
  • misdiagnosing the patient with something more benign
  • Inadequate staffing (i.e. untrained or new staff without experienced staff members present)
  • Failing to recognize the less common symptoms of heart attack (i.e. profusely sweating, abdominal pain, fatigue, etc.)


These are just a few of the many ways a delay in heart attack diagnosis can be caused by medical malpractice.


How Can Our Oregon Delay in Heart Attack Diagnosis Help You?


As discussed above, most people know, especially physicians and other healthcare providers that a heart attack can be deadly if left undiagnosed and treated. Unfortunately, these instances do occur which can lead to serious health consequences for the patient, including wrongful death. This is never acceptable. A patient shouldn’t have to suffer unnecessarily due to a physician or other health care provider’s error. 


This is why, if you or your loved one suffered a delay in heart attack diagnosis, we encourage you to call our office today to have our experienced delay in heart attack diagnosis attorneys review your case for FREE. If the delay in diagnosis is found to be due to negligence, you may be eligible for compensation. Compensation for this type of injury can include the following:


  • Past pain and suffering
  • Future pain and suffering 
  • Emotional pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Past, present and future medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Lost future wages
  • Burial and funeral expenses if patient died due to the delay in diagnosis


These are just a few of the many examples of compensation that you may receive as a result of you or your loved one’s delay in heart attack diagnosis.  There may be other types of damages that your loved one may be entitled to, all which can be recovered with the help of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer for delays in treating a heart attack such as ours with offices in Portland and Bend, Oregon, as well as in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


Injured Due to the Delays in Treating Your Heart Attack?  We Can Help you


If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice contact the Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form.  We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.


Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton,  Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles,  St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.


We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take medical malpractice cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.

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