Doctors are often faced with problems that they must solve quickly, or the person being treated could pass away. Unfortunately, the pressure to act quickly can then cause them to make mistakes that would have otherwise easily been avoided.
Below is one example of how that can happen and the potential ramifications.
A Heart Attack?
A man arrives at the emergency room, and he believes he is having a heart attack. He's having trouble breathing and he is experiencing a lot of chest pain. He's also 55 years old; that's young, but not young enough that a heart attach would be shocking. What's more, when doctors check his file, they find that he's had high blood pressure for decades. That makes it even more clear that a heart attack is a threat.
However, when doctors run the blood tests and the electrocardiogram, they get negative results. They know that doesn't mean it's not a heart attack, as the tests don't always catch them, but it still suggests it's something else.
That clock is ticking, though. Doctors know they may not have time to dig into it further before the man passes away. A doctor decides to give blood thinners to the man in the hope that they'll help keep him alive.
It doesn't work. The man dies, and then doctors find out that it really wasn't a heart attack. It was an aortic dissection, which is a tear in the heart. The man got the wrong treatment, the doctors made the wrong diagnosis and the patient passed away as a direct result.
For grieving family members, it's not enough just to understand why mistakes are made. They want to know what legal options they have, which could include a right to compensation if doctors were negligent while making fatal errors.
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