Delayed Diagnosis of Heart Attack

 Facts on Delayed Diagnosis of Heart Attack 

Heart attacks occur all year round nationwide. However, they are prevalent in the winter in most parts of Pennsylvania. The snow and ice removal that is necessary for this part of the country does put a strain on an already weak or impaired heart. Age also makes a difference, as does the bitter cold. 

Also called Myocardial Infarction (the term used by the medical profession), a study done by JAMA Cardiology Studies in Sweden, where cold and snow are also common, shows that blood flow is constricted during the bitter cold. The causes of any Myocardial Infarction are twofold then–more exertion combined with less blood flow to the heart. 

Detecting Heart Attack Immediately 

If any signs or symptoms of a heart attack are noticed, it is imperative to go to an Emergency Room immediately. Some signs are subtle, while some are obvious. The Mayo Clinic has a whole list of signs to signal immediate medical care. 

  1. Any type of chest pain, whether aching or squeezing. It can also be sharp.
  2. Unexplained pain in the shoulder, arms, back, jaw, neck, or even teeth. Sometimes pain can be in the stomach, and more women than men experience this type. 
  3. Sweating, fatigue, nausea, and other feelings of unwellness. Some heart attack symptoms are so mild that the symptoms last days before true heart failure occurs. 
  4. Dizziness and shortness of breath. Unless suffering some other underlying health issue, a typical individual does not become dizzy and short of breath without a cause. 
  5. Indigestion and/or heartburn. 

Gender Differences and Heart Attack 

The rates of death from heart attacks are going down for men, according to a study done by the University of Utah. This is not true for women, though, as women of all nationalities are experiencing more heart disease now and heart attacks than previously. For Caucasian women, a heart attack is now the number one cause of death, according to the study above. There are several reasons for this. 

  • Women now hold stressful positions in life and juggle many duties. Stress can lead to high blood pressure and heart issues. 
  • Symptoms in women can be very mild or even non-existent, leading to a delay in care. 
  • The blood vessels of women do clog more thoroughly and more quickly, according to studies, than do those of men. 
  • Women tend to ignore illness more so than men. 

Why Are Heart Attacks Misdiagnosed? 

All the above reasons can apply, even when visiting an ER or seeing a personal physician. Since some symptoms are subtle, any doctor can easily dismiss heartburn as a minor food-related problem. If elderly, heartburn is common as the stomach muscles and esophagus relax and stretch as humans age. 

The National Institutes of Health does publish studies that indicate that doctors oftentimes misdiagnose women, especially younger women, one in fifty times when presenting with the symptoms of a heart attack. In fact, women were seven times more likely to be misdiagnosed than men. 

This does not mean that any doctor or hospital that does not rule out a heart attack is not culpable of medical malpractice, as even the most subtle symptoms need full exploration. Sudden death from a massive heart attack can occur if a mild Myocardial Infarction is overlooked, and doctors must practice a routine standard of care. The National Institute of Health routinely publishes materials that show that heart attacks are the number one cause of death in the USA for both men and women, so doctors must always have a possible heart attack uppermost in their minds. 

Delayed Diagnosis Implications of Heart Attack 

Again, according to the Mayo Clinic, each minute that a heart attack, even a mild one, is occurring, blood vessels are dying within the heart. Eventually, massive heart failure will occur and generally leads to the death of a patient. It is crucial to receive early intervention to save lives. 

While many General Practitioners (Family Doctors) do screen for risk factors in routine checkups, most heart attacks are diagnosed via a visit to an ER. An Echocardiogram and heart monitoring, at the very least, should be used for any symptoms by ER doctors that may signal a heart attack. This is the general Standard of Care.

Conclusion on the Facts of Delayed Diagnosis of Heart Attack 

If any signs and symptoms of a heart attack or even heart problems that would lead to a heart attack are ignored, it is a cause for medical malpractice or medical negligence claim against a doctor or a hospital. 

If death occurs because of a delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis, a wrongful death lawsuit might also be in order. If located in the Chester County area, Christian J. Hoey, Esquire, and his team of experts in all fields of medical negligence stand ready to fight for the rights of all their clients.  Giving a call to this elite firm will not recover the damage done to one’s body. Still, it can recover the damage done to the mind, spirit, and finances that occurs with misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis.

For more information on all our legal services, visit us at or call us at (610) 647-5151.

Distracted Driving

Pennsylvania defines distracted driving as “an activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” Drivers have to focus on driving, so they can react to the information on the road, such as road conditions, hazards and other drivers. Distracted drivers do not react appropriately and thus put others at risk for severe injury or death. Examples of distractions, besides using cell phones and texting, include drinking, eating, adjusting the radio, adjusting climate controls, adjusting seats, combing hair, putting on make-up, daydreaming, reaching for dropped items, engaging in heavy conversations, and focusing on events outside of the car.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence typically refers to alcohol use, but drug use can also impair drivers and cause severe car accidents.  In either situation, enjoying cocktails at happy hour, celebrating with drugs or alcohol, drinking too much wine for dinner and unwinding after a long week at work results in too many motorists driving under the influence.  Controlled substances impact each person differently, making it common for someone to misjudge his or her level of impairment.  These poor judgments can lead to severe and sometimes fatal car accidents.

Driver Fatigue

Driving without enough sleep is commonplace for many in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and across the nation. Truck drivers, shift workers, and those with sleep disorders are most vulnerable to causing an accident because they are drowsy or fatigued. Not having enough rest slows down reaction time and impairs the senses. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) claims that eighteen (18) hours without sleep impairs a driver to the same extent as someone who has a 0.08 blood or breath alcohol concentration after consuming alcohol.


The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that one-third of all car accidents involve speeding. Drivers who rush, run late, or simply lack patience may choose to speed when they get behind the wheel. Speeding makes it more likely that a driver will lose control of his or her vehicle and makes it more difficult to react to road hazards and other vehicles. Speeding also increases the impact of a car accident and makes it far less likely that a negligent driver may maintain control of his vehicle sufficient to prevent a collision. High speed car accidents make it far more likely that those involved will suffer severe injuries or death.


At HoeyLegal, we know from our litigation experience that tractor-trailer drivers often operate at least one cellular phone which is in use at, during, or immediately prior to a tractor-trailer accident. Additionally, most tractor-trailers are equipped with data recorders which capture, in real-time, important vehicle operation events including speed, hard braking and other evasive maneuvers taken by the operator and the tractor-trailer.  It is imperative that this evidence be obtained before it is destroyed.  At HoeyLegal, our trial attorneys will obtain any necessary court order to preserve this evidence for trial.


Oftentimes, there are several defendants responsible for the tractor-trailer accident. In most cases, at least two defendants are responsible for the ownership and operation of the tractor-trailer.  There may be additional defendants responsible for the hiring and retention of the tractor-trailer driver.  At HoeyLegal, our investigators will promptly identify the responsible defendants and immediately request the preservation of all evidence related to the hiring and retention of the driver, inspection of the vehicles and the supervision and drug/alcohol testing of the vehicle operator.


Our accident investigators include mechanics who will immediately respond to the accident site and the location where the truck has been impounded in order to photograph the truck and conduct necessary mechanical inspections of the vehicle. In the event that a court order is necessary to examine and inspect the trucks, HoeyLegal Attorneys will promptly file the necessary motions to enable the HoeyLegal mechanics and inspectors to conduct a prompt evaluation of the mechanical function of the at-fault tractor-trailer


Our expert accident investigators include former Pennsylvania State Police accident investigators and nationally recognized engineers who will carefully photograph the accident scene and conduct all necessary measurements of skid marks, yaw marks, displacement of debris and thoroughly examine the accident site to preserve all evidence for the time of trial.


Our investigators will promptly interview and record all witnesses that observed the accident and collect all biographical information from the witnesses so they will available to testify on your behalf at trial.

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