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ER doctors often misdiagnose female heart attacks

On Behalf of | Apr 24, 2020 | Misdiagnosis |

If you were asked about the main sign of a heart attack, would you say that it has to be pain in the chest? That’s the first thing most people think of, and for men, it is true. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for women.

Rather than chest pain, women often experience:

  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heartburn
  • Abdominal pain
  • Indigestion
  • Fatigue that goes beyond the norm
  • Upper back pain
  • Back discomfort
  • Shoulder pain or discomfort
  • Jaw pain
  • Neck pain

The problem is that many doctors look for chest pain first. When there is no chest pain, they often assume that the issue is not a heart attack. They could misdiagnose it as something like a panic attack, for instance. This mistake could prove fatal if it means that the woman in question does not get the treatment that she needs, all because the doctor was busy looking only for male symptoms.

Is this issue more common in the ER? It could be since an emergency room is such a chaotic, fast-paced environment. Doctors have to make decisions quickly, so they may fall back on the first instincts they have rather than slowing down and thinking about how this case may be different. Doctors also have to decide who is in the most mortal danger. That may be a woman having a heart attack, but they may not recognize it if they think she is not having one.

Have you suffered due to a misdiagnosis or have you lost a loved one? You need to know what options you have.