Female Patients Susceptible to Failure to Diagnose Heart Problems

KTBS.com recently reported on the prevalence and consequences of medical error involving misdiagnosis of cardiac problems in female patients.

As the report indicated, a misdiagnosis can occur in several forms: diagnosing the patient with the wrong condition, failing to diagnose anything at all (missed diagnosis), or delaying diagnosis and allowing complications to develop.

One of the most deadly forms of misdiagnosis involves heart health. A recent study discussed in the article points to the fact that doctors are much more likely to miss critical heart problem warning signs in female patients than in male patients
The study involved over 300 doctors who examined test medical records, one of a female patient and one of a male patient. Each patient showed the same symptoms. The doctors’ hypothetical diagnosis and treatment revealed the gender bias. The male test patient was diagnosed with heart problems more than thirty percent more frequently than the woman in the sample.

The prevalence of misdiagnoses is widespread, with many people never realizing that they have been victims. The National Patient Safety Foundation reports that nearly one in six people have been misdiagnosed at some point in their medical history. In particular, women under the age of 55 are seven times more likely to be misdiagnosed and sent home from the hospital. Once sent home, the chance of dying from heart complications increase by fifty percent.

For that reason, our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Levin & Perconti continue to encourage anyone who suspects they may have suffered because of this medical error to contact our representatives. Many healthcare provider errors are never fully uncovered until lawyers begin investigating circumstances to better understand the causes of certain medical problems.

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