Statistics show that women are 50% more likely at present to be misdiagnosed with a heart attack than men. Often being mistaken for indigestion, many thousands of women are at risk to fatalities and serious injury due to them not being in the bracket usually considered at risk.
Heart attack ‘norms’
One of the common reasons for medical professionals misdiagnosing heart attacks in women is simply because they do not fit the usual at-risk category. The most common type of person to get a heart attack tends to be middle aged, overweight males. It is because of this, women are often overlooked as being not at risk.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, consultant cardiologist Dr Chris Gale of the University of Leeds (which carried out the study) spoke of the common misconceptions faced when diagnosing women; she said “’We need to work harder to shift the perception that heart attacks only affect a certain type of person.”
‘Typically, when we think of a person with a heart attack, we envisage a middle aged man who is overweight, has diabetes and smokes. This is not always the case. Heart attacks affect the wider spectrum of the population – including women.’
Women can often have differing symptoms
Countless case studies
With over 69,000 women having heart attacks in Britain each year, there comes a raft of cases involving women at risk of death through being improperly diagnosed by their local health professionals.
In a separate story, the Mirror reports how one Scottish mother, named Tracey Potter, told of her issues after suffering for 10 days from extreme pain, only to be told she would be absolutely fine by medical professionals. After 10 days the irreversible damage was spotted and she required an emergency, life saving operation. Her heart stopped twice during her operation and counts herself lucky to be alive today after the misdiagnosis.
Similar cases include Claire-Marie Berouche who believed she’d contracted a stomach bug but despite feeling very nauseous was unable to vomit. Upon hearing paramedics give the situation a code blue, she was in shock given her lifestyle, as previously mentioned, was nothing like that of a middle aged, overweight male. She had also never smoked and rarely consumed alcohol.
With so many incidents in which seemingly healthy women feel such symptoms, it asks questions of the medical community regarding attitudes towards identifying these symptoms. Would more training or a change in attitude help prevent the 28,000 female heart attack related deaths per year?
Legal assistance required?
In many cases of medical negligence (which is what misdiagnosis of any problem counts as) a sufferer may see problems develop which will not simply go away. In this case the misdiagnosis of a heart problem could lead to life changing surgery (as seen above) or require prolonged medication, medical treatment or result in lifestyle altering effects, including paralysis or damage to internal organs. These side effects do not go away and could need aftercare and rehabilitation. That is where legal assistance comes in.
Scott Rees & Co has dealt with similar situations to this previously, representing clients in such cases as misdiagnosis, incorrect prescription of medication and incorrect treatment during operations. All of these types of injury have the potential to completely change a life and require years of aftercare. This aftercare is not free, not cheap and not always easy to overcome emotionally.
If you’d like to know more about the no win no fee service Scott Rees can provide to you, your friend or family member following an injury caused in a medical setting, you can call our hotline on 01695 722 222 (lines are open weekdays 9am to 7pm) or you can enquire about opening a case with us via our online claim form here.
We offer free, impartial advice and can offer no win no fee services to clients, alleviating the risk from starting a claim. Call today for more info.