Doctors can miss heart attack signs in both men and women, but statistics show that this happens to female patients far more often, especially if they’re young.
This is problematic on many levels, first and foremost of which is that misdiagnosis may cause that patient to go home without getting proper treatment. It may become clear later that they needed significant treatment for a heart attack, but, by that point, it was too late. It’s important for a doctor to get this right the first time.
Why do they get it wrong?
The simplest way of explaining why doctors miss more heart attacks in women is just to point to the issue of chest pain. For male patients, the classic symptom of chest pain is what everyone thinks of as a heart attack. It’s what they experience the most, it’s what they talk about the most and it’s what doctors end up looking for.
This is not always true for women. They may have other symptoms, such as dizziness or fatigue or nausea. They may have chest pain, but it could be more minor. When they bring up these other symptoms, because the chest pain doesn’t take the same position of importance as it does with male patients, the doctor might not think of a heart attack first. They may diagnose it as something like heartburn or stress or a panic attack.
If this happens to you or a loved one, you need to know if you have a right to seek financial compensation. A misdiagnosis can be deadly or could lead to significant complications that can be costly and life-changing.