The statistics and prevalence of cardiovascular-related disease can really grab your attention.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for adults in the United States. It’s responsible for around 25% of all deaths. Heart attacks (also called myocardial infarctions) occur once every 40 seconds in America. Over 800,000 Americans have a heart attack annually.
With that said, we’ve fortunately seen medical advances over recent decades that have reduced the death rates from heart-related conditions. These life-saving interventions, though, are of little value to patients when doctors and nurses don’t recognize and act upon signs of a heart attack or other cardiovascular condition.
One the most common reasons that people seek treatment at an emergency room (ER) is chest pain. In fact, chest pain accounts for about 5% of all ER visits. One of the reasons for chest pain is that the heart is not getting sufficient oxygen. Of course, there are other reasons, too, that are unrelated to cardiovascular concerns.
That’s why the standard of care requires a complete physician evaluation and workup of chest pain before discharging a patient with chest pain from the ER. An appropriate workup includes an electrocardiogram (ECG) and sometimes troponin-level lab work.
I’ve seen many cases where doctors discharged patients with chest pain without doing a proper workup because they thought it was caused by an upset stomach or something harmless. Unfortunately, in those cases, the patients went home from the hospital where they had devastating or fatal heart attacks.
When a patient is diagnosed with a heart attack, the clock starts, and the race is on to initiate prompt treatment. Depending on the type of heart attack, treatment may require cardiac medications (such as the clot-busting drug tPA), procedures (such as balloon angioplasty), or both.
If you’ve been seriously injured because of poor chest pain or heart attack care, then I encourage you to contact a top-rated experienced Houston, Texas medical malpractice lawyer for help in evaluating your potential case.