Fighting For Justice And Your Best Interests

Why doctors misdiagnose women’s heart attacks so often

On Behalf of | May 21, 2024 | Failure To Diagnose |

In movies and TV shows, it’s often obvious when someone is having a heart attack. They complain about pain in their arm, they clutch their chest, and then they fall down. Chest pain is the number one symptom and anyone watching knows that this person is having a heart attack.

The reason that these symptoms are so cliché that they have made their way into modern media is that men do complain about chest pain more than anything else when having heart attacks. It is their number one symptom, and so it’s the first thing many people naturally think of when they think “heart attack.”

But the same is not true for women. They often have pain in other areas, like the neck or the jaw. They may have trouble breathing or complain about feeling lightheaded and dizzy. Many women will have symptoms that seem closer to heartburn, feeling slightly nauseated or fatigued.

Mistaking the symptoms for other conditions

The problem arises when a doctor is looking for the main symptoms that men will present, but that doctor is dealing with a female patient. Often, doctors will determine that women are suffering from other conditions, such as heartburn or indigestion, and that they are not having a heart attack. These women may be sent home without proper medical care, where they pass away from the condition – because it was a heart attack all along.

Was the doctor negligent?

Doctors are not going to make the correct diagnosis in 100% of cases. But this helps to show why it’s so important for them to closely consider the details of every case. If a doctor is negligent and dismisses a patient’s concerns or doesn’t analyze their symptoms properly, it could be an example of medical malpractice.