Heart disease is a medical term that encompasses several types of heart conditions, many of which relate to plaque buildup in the walls of the arteries. The narrowing of the arteries affects blood flow to the heart and the rest of the body, increasing the likelihood of heart attack or stroke.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Unfortunately, physicians and other health care providers still fail to diagnose it. They attribute the symptoms to heartburn, anxiety, indigestion or other possible medical conditions. The reason could be that heart disease is a condition that would need more extensive examination to detect.
Physicians should be more proactive
When a patient visits the doctor’s office complaining of chest pain, the doctor can easily prescribe proton pump inhibitors for acid reflux. They cannot diagnose a myocardial infarction (heart attack) on the spot, so they settle for a less fatal diagnosis instead of ruling out the worst-case scenario. If physicians were more proactive, they would order additional testing or imaging that would allow them to diagnose the patient’s condition accurately.
Failing to diagnose heart disease
Because the physician failed to diagnose or misdiagnosed the patient’s cardiac condition, the patient will not receive the treatment necessary to get better. Instead, the patient’s condition worsens over time, leading to more complications. The faster a patient receives proper and adequate treatment, the higher their chance of recovering.
If a physician did not order tests that any other reasonable physician would have given the patient’s symptoms and circumstances, the patient could sue them for the damages they suffered from the misdiagnosis.