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Women are at greater risk from heart attacks due to malpractice

On Behalf of | Feb 28, 2024 | Medical Malpractice

Heart attacks can certainly happen to both men and women. In some cases, these individuals are able to go to the hospital or the doctor’s office and talk through their symptoms. If they get prompt treatment, they may be saved and make a full recovery.

But there are some major issues with this process, specifically for women. Studies have found that doctors misdiagnose heart attacks far more often when they are meeting with female patients, compared to when they are meeting with male patients. These women may be told that they have unrelated issues, such as heartburn or indigestion, and then be sent home to get some rest. But if they’re actually having a heart attack, this could be a fatal mistake by their doctor.

Why does this happen?

This phenomenon is likely due to the differences in symptoms that doctors expect. Many people assume that a heart attack is almost always going to present as chest pain, and potentially as pain radiating down the arm. And for many men, this is true, so it’s the first symptom that a lot of doctors are looking for.

But women will often present other symptoms before chest pain, such as shortness of breath, neck pain or jaw pain, nausea and feelings of sickness, or just fatigue. Doctors see these symptoms and don’t even consider a heart attack because they are waiting for chest pain, so they misdiagnose the condition.

It’s very important for doctors to understand what symptoms to look for and to provide a reasonable level of care to all patients, of all genders. Those who have been harmed through medical mistakes must be aware of their legal options.