Heart Attack Misdiagnosis Claims

If you or a family member had a heart attack which was not correctly diagnosed by your GP, consultant, paramedic or other health professional, you may be entitled to claim compensation. The misdiagnosis of a heart attack could lead to further damage to the heart as well as other serious consequences. 

For advice on making a heart attack misdiagnosis claim, contact our medical negligence solicitors today. We provide a free no-obligation case evaluation as well as a ‘No Win No Fee‘ agreement. Call us today on 0333 577 9444, email cn@devonshires.co.uk or complete our online form.

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the most common type of heart and circulatory disease. It occurs when coronary arteries become narrowed by a build-up of atheroma, a fatty material within their walls. This blockage reduces the blood supply to part of the heart muscle, resulting in a lack of oxygen to the area and damage to the heart muscle and even death if the blockage is severe. The pain or discomfort felt from the narrowing of blood vessels is called angina and if a blockage occurs it can cause a myocardial infarction (heart attack).

CHD is the one of the UK’s leading causes of death and the most common cause of premature death. It is responsible for around 64,000 deaths in the UK each year, an average of 180 people each day, or one death around every eight minutes.

Situations in which a heart attack could be misdiagnosed or the wrong treatment provided:

  • A heart attack could be misdiagnosed as heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux, stomach upset. The symptoms are often confused due to the areas of the body in which the pain appears. In this situation it is likely that a medical professional has failed to investigate a patient’s medical history, medication, lifestyle (drug / smoking), age, and family background.
  • The failure to refer a patient for further testing for heart disease and heart attack. These tests could include blood tests, x- rays, ECG, and Coronary angiography.
  • The failure of hospital staff to transfer patients to specialist heart wards or centres. 
  • A failure to diagnose acute coronary heart disease and later myocardial infarction (heart attack) and provide treatment. This could be the result of negligent care and assessment by a GP, paramedic, pharmacist or other health care professional.
  • A failure to investigate cardiac or other potentially related symptoms eg. high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, high cholesterol,  common forms of abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia)  eg. atrial fibrillation (AF).
  • A failure in conducting tests correctly, leading to false results, or the results are incorrectly interpreted eg. mistakes are made when interpreting ECG results or an ECG fails to detect a heart attack.
  • Heart attack symptoms in children or teenagers may be misdiagnosed as they are not commonly associated with these demographics.
  • The lack of specialist hospital facilities and staff.

The misdiagnosis or the late diagnosis of a cardiac condition such as a heart attack or an infection such as endocarditis, (an infection of the inner lining of the heart chambers and heart valves), could result in further damage to the heart muscle with serious and long-term consequences. If you have received negligent medical care or your heart disease or heart attack was misdiagnosed, our specialist claims experts could help you obtain compensation for your pain, the damage to your health and your loss of income if you were unable to work. Contact our misdiagnosis claims experts today on 0333 577 9444, email cn@devonshires.co.uk or complete our online form.

According to the British Heart Foundation 2020 Statistics:

  • Heart and circulatory diseases cause more than a quarter (27%) of all deaths in the UK; i.e. nearly 170,000 deaths each year – an average of 460 people each day or one death every three minutes.
  • There are around 7.4 million people living with heart and circulatory diseases in the UK.
  • Around 80% of people with heart and circulatory diseases have at least one other health condition.
  • Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is the one of the UK’s leading causes of death and the most common cause of premature death.
  • CHD is responsible for around 64,000 deaths in the UK each year, an average of 180 people each day, or one death around every eight minutes.
  • In the UK more than 100,000 hospital admissions each year are due to heart attacks; that’s 280 admissions each day or 1 every 5 minutes.
  • People with coronary heart disease, or who have had a heart attack, are twice as likely to have a stroke. Stroke is the fourth biggest killer in the UK.
  • Many different risk factors increase your likelihood of developing heart and circulatory diseases: diabetes, high blood pressure, air pollution, age, family background, smoking, obesity, exercise.
  • CHD kills more than twice as many women in the UK as breast cancer
  • In the UK, one in seven men and one in twelve women die from coronary heart disease.

NHS UK lists the three main types of acute coronary syndrome (ACS):

  • ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI)
  • non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI)
  • unstable angina

 

ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI)

An STEMI is the most serious type of heart attack where there is a long interruption to the blood supply. This is caused by a total blockage of the coronary artery, which can cause extensive damage to a large area of the heart. An STEMI is what most people think of when they hear the term “heart attack”.

 

Non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI)

An NSTEMI can be less serious than an STEMI because the supply of blood to the heart may be only partially, rather than completely, blocked. As a result, a smaller section of the heart may be damaged. However, an NSTEMI is still regarded as a serious medical emergency. Without treatment, it can progress to serious heart damage or STEMI.

Unstable angina

Unstable angina is the least serious type of ACS. However, like NSTEMI, it is still a medical emergency as it can also progress to serious heart damage or STEMI. In unstable angina, the blood supply to the heart is still seriously restricted, but there is no permanent damage, so the heart muscle is preserved.

Source: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/heart-attack/diagnosis/

 

One in three heart attack cases ‘misdiagnosed’

Headlines in August 2019 suggested that one in three heart attacks is misdiagnosed.

The headlines were based on the findings of a study which used data from the Myocardial Ischaemia National Audit Project, which included data for 564,412 adults (average age 68, two-thirds male) with STEMI or NSTEMI treated across 243 NHS hospitals in England and Wales between 2004 and 2013. The study was carried out by researchers from the University of Leeds and other institutions in the UK, and was funded by the British Heart Foundation and the National Institute for Health Research.

The researchers concluded:

  • Overall, 29.9% of the cohort (168,534) had the wrong diagnosis initially.
  • “Nearly one in three patients with acute myocardial infarction had other diagnoses at first medical contact.”

“There is substantial potential, greater for NSTEMI than STEMI, to improve outcomes through earlier and more accurate diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction.”

 

Conditions which are commonly linked or associated with a heart attack include:

  • High blood pressure: Around 50% of heart attacks and strokes are associated with high blood pressure.
  • Family history: People with a family history of coronary heart disease are significantly more likely to develop vascular dementia.
  • Diabetes: People with diabetes are 2-3 times more likely to develop vascular dementia.
  • Diabetes: Adults with diabetes are 2-3 times more likely to develop heart and circulatory diseases, and are nearly twice as likely to die from heart disease or stroke as those without diabetes. In the UK, one third of adults with diabetes die from a heart or circulatory disease.
  • Smoking: It is estimated that up to 20,000 deaths in the UK each year from heart and circulatory diseases can be attributed to smoking.

 

Source: British Heart Foundation 2020 Statistics

If you believe that your GP, consultant, paramedic or other health care provider has been negligent in diagnosing your heart attack or heart disease contact Devonshires Claims for a free case evaluation.

How our heart attack misdiagnosis claims service works:

  1. We advise our clients to gather important information such as dates of GP visits and any correspondence received.
  2. We provide a free case evaluation and will review the details of your medical misdiagnosis case. We may request further information if we need this to assess your claim.
  3. If we believe that there are strong grounds for a medical misdiagnosis claim we will discuss the funding options available to you including our “No Win- No Fee” agreement.
  4. We will consult our extensive network of medical experts to review your medical reports. These experts will determine whether the treatment you received fell below the standards that could be expected from a similar medical professional and the future requirements and implications to your health.
  5. We will then contact the parties involved to see if they accept blame for the misdiagnosis of your heart attack or heart disease.
  6. If they accept liability or blame, we will try to secure interim compensation payments which could fund any private medical treatment, care, equipment and other expenses before your claim settles. These early payments help you to receive the treatment you may require.
  7. If they do not accept they are to blame then we will issue proceedings and fight for compensation on your behalf.
  8. We will always try to negotiate your claim out of court. However if the defendant does not accept liability or disagrees with the amount of compensation we are requesting, then we will take the matter to a trial if required. We will guide you through the entire process.

At Devonshires Claims, we believe that victims of medical negligence should not have to worry about legal costs.  Therefore, we utilise a Conditional Fee Agreement for most of our medical negligence claims. A Conditional Fee Agreement is commonly known as a ‘no win no fee’ agreement and this means that you pay nothing unless you win your case*.

Contact our experts today for a free no obligation case evaluation. If we believe that you may have a negligence case for the late diagnosis or the misdiagnosis of a heart attack or heart disease, we will discuss the funding options available to you including  our No Win No Fee agreement. We will work with you to determine the best way to fund your claim based on the details of your case and your financial situation and needs.

Mistakes associated with the diagnosis or treatment of a heart attack or other heart condition could have  life-changing consequences for the patient and their family.

The compensation pay-out would reflect:

  • The extent and nature of the injury including the potential consequences of a heart attack eg. brain damage, damage to the heart muscle
  • Any financial losses, including medical expenses, loss of income and travel expenses.
  • Future care and rehabilitation requirements.

Rehabilitation could require:

  • Long-term care
  • Occupational or physiotherapy
  • Access to a specialist cardiac treatment and rehabilitation services
  • Access to specialist psychologists and speech and language therapists
  • Mobility aids
  • Home adaptation

As with all medical negligence claims, there is generally a three year limit within which to make a compensation claim.

The three year limit applies from the date of negligence or the date on which you became aware of the negligent medical treatment.

There are a few exceptions to this three year limit. These include:

  • Children – there is no time limit which in which to start your heart attack late diagnosis or misdiagnosis compensation claim. When the child turns 18 they have until their 21st birthday within which to make a claim in their own right.
  • Mental capacity – A child or adult without capacity to run a claim, may not have a time limit within which to bring a claim.  We recommend that you contact Devonshires Claims if you have any queries involving those who lack capacity and our specialist solicitors will be able to assist.

Why Choose Our Misdiagnosis and Medical Negligence Experts to Represent You?

Our ‘No Win No-Fee’ medical negligence experts specialise in misdiagnosis claims, including heart attack claims, and work hard to secure you and your family the justice and compensation you deserve.

Negligence claims involving misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of a medical condition can be complex. However our solicitors have developed expertise in reviewing cases, obtaining the maximum compensation for families and working with our network of medical experts and specialist barristers to piece together events and discover what went wrong.

To start your free no-obligation case evaluation contact our experts today on  0333 577 9444, email cn@devonshires.co.uk or complete our online form.

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