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Failure to Diagnose Heart Disease

Syracuse Lawyers for Victims of Medical Malpractice

When diagnosing heart disease, a doctor carefully takes a medical history and reviews symptoms. A physical exam is performed, which may include checking your lungs for congestion. Risk factors are also checked. Do you have high blood pressure? Are you diabetic? These are risk factors for heart failure. If you believe you were harmed by a failure to diagnose heart disease, you should consult the seasoned Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano can help you assert your rights.

Checking for Heart Disease

After performing a physical exam, a doctor may elect to conduct a blood test, a chest X-ray, electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, or stress test to assess your heart’s condition. A chest X-ray is used to diagnose conditions other than heart failure that might explain your signs and symptoms. In a stress test, you might be asked to use a treadmill while attached to an ECG machine or to take a drug that will stimulate your heart in a way that's similar to exercise. Other imaging that may be performed for diagnostic purposes include a CT scan, a cardiac MRI, myocardial biopsy, or a coronary angiogram.

Failure to Diagnose Heart Disease

Results of imaging and other tests allow doctors to diagnose heart disease. Heart failure is categorized according to two different categorization systems that may be used to determine what treatment would be likely to work and reduce the chances of sudden death. Sometimes heart failure can be corrected through the treatment of an underlying cause such as a problem with a heart valve. In other cases, treatment requires appropriate medications such as angiotensin II receptor blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, beta blockers, diuretics, inotropes, digitalis, and aldosterone antagonists.

If there is a flare up of heart failure symptoms, you might be hospitalized so that your heart can be helped in pumping better. There are also situations in which surgery is recommended. For example, when artery blockages contribute to heart failure, a doctor might recommend coronary artery bypass surgery. For another example, a ventricular assist device could be implanted to pump blood from the ventricles to the remainder of the body while a patient is waiting for a donor heart or even as an alternative to a heart transplant.

Medical Malpractice

In some cases, no treatment is provided because heart disease isn't diagnosed. Failing to diagnose a heart attack is a common error. Sometimes doctors fail to diagnose heart disease because they misdiagnose the patient with a pulled muscle, heartburn, fractured ribs, back pain, indigestion, gallstones, or a panic attack. If a reasonably competent doctor in the same specialty would have diagnosed heart disease given the same set of circumstances, there may have been medical malpractice.

To hold a doctor liable for failing to diagnose heart disease, you'll need to establish: (1) a doctor-patient relationship existed, (2) breach of the professional duty of care, (3) causation, and (4) damages. You'll need to retain an expert to testify on what the professional duty of care was and whether the breach of it caused your injuries. You may be able to hold the health care provider that failed to diagnose liable, and a seasoned medical negligence lawyer can help.

In some cases, the hospital may also be held liable. The hospital can be held liable where an employee of the hospital owed a duty to diagnose and failed to do so. In some cases, the doctrine of apparent authority will allow a patient to hold the hospital accountable even though the doctor that failed to diagnose was not a hospital employee; if an emergency room doctor appears to be employed by the hospital, the hospital may be responsible.

Consult an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney in Syracuse

The lawyers at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano provide legal representation to patients injured by failure to diagnose heart disease in Syracuse and Rochester. We also represent patients harmed by negligent health care providers in Auburn, Binghamton, Elmira, Ithaca, Norwich, Delhi, Cortland, Oneida, Herkimer, Lowville, Watertown, Oswego, Utica, Wampsville, Canandaigua, Cooperstown, and Lyons. Please call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form to learn more.

Client Reviews
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"We were very impressed with how Jeff DeFrancisco represented us at trial and we were extremely happy when the jury found in our favor." D.M., Auburn, NY
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"I cannot express in words what an awesome job Charlie Falgiatano and Jean Marie Westlake did in representing my family in my mother's case at trial. There can never be enough thank-yous." D.L., Cortland, NY
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"I suffered a serious injury as a result of medical malpractice. My husband and I retained Jeff DeFrancisco to assist us in this case. We were extremely happy with his representation and highly recommend him." Kelley R., Syracuse, NY
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Since the insurance company was unwilling to settle the matter my case ultimately went to trial. At trial Jeff DeFrancisco did an absolutely amazing job by obtaining a very favorable result for me." T.H., Oneida, NY
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"I highly recommend DeFrancisco & Falgiatano - Charlie represented me for a medical malpractice case. He is the best of the best. He is friendly and I am very happy with the representation he provided." Roger N., Oneida, NY