A deadly misdiagnosis: What's next?

When people think of deadly medical mistakes, they often think of active errors like making a mistake during surgery that causes a patient to suffer from excessive blood loss. These types of mistakes absolutely do happen, and they can be deadly. However, lethal medical mistakes are not confined to these types of errors.

For instance, a doctor could make a rather passive mistake, like misdiagnosing a condition. That's a potentially serious error that could lead to the patient's death, even though the doctor never actively treated the patient. Sometimes, it is the omission of proper care that is the issue.

Imagine that a man comes into the hospital and complains about tightness in his chest and trouble breathing. The doctor sees that he is in relatively good shape, and he is in his 30s, and the doctor determines that the man is just suffering from stress and anxiety. He may even be having a mild panic attack. The doctor tells him to try to reduce his stress and get some rest and then sends him home.

The reality is that the man is having a heart attack. He does not fit the standard profile since he appears young and healthy, but that's still what it is. He tries to sleep and goes into full cardiac arrest, passing away at home. The misdiagnosis cost that man his life.

It is very important for doctors to be diligent and provide excellent care, and that starts as soon as a patient arrives. When they're negligent and patients pass away as a result, family members need to know their options to seek compensation for the wrongful death.

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