Misdiagnosed Heart Attack

Oregon Failure to Diagnose a Heart Attack Lawyers

Heart attacks (myocardial infarction) are quite common in the United States, with around 735,000 Americans experiencing a heart attack each year. Oregon hospitals are expected to have the equipment and properly trained staff to handle potential heart attack patients. Unfortunately, many heart attack patients are not properly treated, resulting in significant injury to the patient or even death.


Hospitals should quickly treat patients complaining of chest pain. This means that chest pain complaints should be treated as a genuine emergency, and individuals complaining of chest pain should not be kept waiting in the emergency room for hours, but should be registered and screened by a physician within minutes of arrival.


Proper screening usually involves completing a detailed history, physical examination, an electrocardiogram (ECG), listening to the heart through a stethoscope, and laboratory testing. Patients complaining of chest pain should also be monitored for several hours, even if initial tests do not show evidence of a heart attack as some symptoms can take hours to develop.  Appropriate diagnoses is important given the poor prognosis of survival if the heart attack is misdiagnosed or there is a delay in the diagnosis.

Frequent reasons why heart attacks are misdiagnosed

Most heart attack medical malpractice misdiagnosis claims involve either the patient waiting too long in the emergency room or being sent home too early after the initial examination and tests. Common claims include:

  • An at-risk patient (elderly, hypertension, diabetes, or family history of heart attacks) who is complaining of chest pain for more than twenty minutes being sent home without further testing.
  • A misread ECG which results in sending the patient home too early even though an ECG should have been followed up at least every half hour.
  • Prematurely sending the patient home after seeing his/her initial troponin levels are not elevated, even though it could take six to nine hours for the troponin levels to rise.
  • The hospital or doctor being too slow in treating the patient even though they recognize heart attack symptoms.


Patients should remember that it is never acceptable for a hospital to send a patient complaining of chest pain home without ordering further tests, as even a small amount of chest pain could put the patient at risk. A misdiagnosis of a heart attack is a serious problem and can cause a wide-range of damage, including expensive medical bills, loss of wages, and even death.

Failure to Diagnose Heart Attacks in Women

Women are just as prone to heart attacks as men, however, women make up more than half of all fatalities related to heart attacks.  In fact, heart attacks are the number one cause of women in the U.S., which is greater than cancer.  Traditional biases in medicine – that heart attacks and heart disease are male problems can cause a physician or emergency room doctor to misdiagnose a heart attack in a woman.  Woman also tend to have different symptoms when experiencing a heart attack which can cause a misdiagnosis.  While men may have symptoms of chest pains localized in the left side of their chest when experiencing a heart attack, it is not uncommon for women to have different symptoms altogether.

Frequently, when experiencing a heart attack women have felt pain in the arms, neck, jaw, and back and have also experienced stomach pain, nausea, and lightheadedness.  Because these symptoms differ drastically from “traditional” male symptoms, doctors, emergency room personnel, and nurses may not properly diagnose and properly treat the a heart attack.

Oregon medical malpractice heart attack lawyers

Advocates for those suffering from a misdiagnosed heart attack

If you or a loved one has had a misdiagnosed heart attack, contact the Oregon heart attack medical malpractice attorneys at Kuhlman Law, LLC for a free initial Consultation. We stand up for victims of medical negligence and handle medical malpractice cases on a contingency fee basis which means there are no fees unless we recover for you.  Call today for a free case analysis at (541) 385-1999.


We handle cases throughout Oregon including: Bend, Portland, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Medford, Deschutes County, Central Oregon, Sisters, Redmond, Lake Oswego, Hillsboro, Multnomah County, Washington County, Hood River, The Dalles, Clackamas County, Oregon City, Jefferson County, Crook County, Coos Bay, Lane County, Douglas County, Yamhill County, Tillamook County, Clatsop, Columbia Klamath, Wasco, Madras, Prineville, Crook, Lane, Pendleton, Umatilla, La Grande, Albany, and Vancouver, Washington.


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