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GP Failure To Prevent Heart Attack

GP Failure To Prevent Heart Attack

Sadly there are times when a patient seeks help for the symptoms of heart disease, but their GP does not provide the necessary care, resulting in a heart attack. If this is something that has affected you or your loved one, you could be entitled to claim compensation.

Diagnosing ischaemic heart disease

Many patients who are in the early stages of heart disease will experience a tight, painful chest. This will prompt them to seek help from their General Practitioner.

A GP should recognise the warning signs of heart disease and carry out further investigations. Suspicions should be especially raised if a patient has high cardiac risk factors. This might include smoking, high cholesterol, and a family history of heart disease.

Where this is a combination of chest pain symptoms with high cardiac risk factors, a reasonable medical practitioner should refer a patient to a cardiologist for an urgent exercise tolerance test. This is when a patient is put on a treadmill and their heart monitored. If a patient is displaying the symptoms of unstable angina, the patient should be urgently admitted to hospital.

In the absence of the high cardiac risk factors, an urgent admission may not be deemed necessary. Nevertheless, a patient must undergo further investigations to see whether or not he/she has heart disease. This might include repeated ECGs. Just one ECG is not sufficient to rule out heart disease as it is just a snapshot in time; it is not a way of reliably excluding angina or heart disease.

Preventing a heart attack

If heart disease is diagnosed in the early stages, treatment can be provided that will help to prevent a heart attack and cardiac arrest.

Preventing a heart attack is usually dependent upon a GP referring a patient for an exercise tolerance test, or other cardiological investigations. If heart disease is discovered, the necessary treatment can be provided. This may include an angiogram, followed by an angioplasty or stenting. Should a patient receive this intervention, it will significantly decrease the likelihood of a heart attack occurring.

GP failure to refer a patient with chest pains

If a GP fails to refer a patient with the characteristic symptoms of heart disease, the standard of care will be deemed unreasonable. If this causes a patient to suffer a heart attack/cardiac arrest, there will be a case of medical negligence.

If this has affected you or your loved one, get in touch with us today.

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