According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease claims the lives of over half a million people in the United States per year. Some of these deaths, though sadly not all, could have been prevented with proper medical care. If you or someone you know has experienced a worsening or even fatal heart condition because of a cardiology error, you may be entitled to compensation.
It is important to speak to an experienced cardiology malpractice lawyer when pursuing compensation for any sort of medical wrongdoing. The team at O’Conner, Parsons, Lane & Noble has helped injured victims collect over $100 million dollars in verdicts and settlements and has years of experience holding healthcare providers accountable for their errors.
Who Might Commit a Cardiology Error?
Even if a medical professional is not a cardiologist, they can still be liable for a cardiology error. The cardiovascular system includes the heart and the circulation system. Several different types of medical professionals can be liable for cardiology medical malpractice, including the following:
- Cardiologists. A cardiologist is a doctor who is specially trained to prevent, diagnose, and manage diseases and health conditions involving the cardiovascular system. This type of doctor works in the area of internal medicine and primarily performs diagnostic testing and prescribes medications, but some cardiologists perform invasive surgical procedures.
- Cardiac surgeons. A cardiac surgeon is a surgical specialist who performs surgeries involving the heart and cardiovascular system.
- General practitioners. A general practitioner is usually the first medical professional to see a patient for a heart-related condition. They will often perform an initial assessment and refer a patient to a cardiologist or cardiac surgeon if needed.
- Diagnostic professionals. Healthcare professionals such as ultrasound or laboratory technicians are also an important part of the diagnosis and treatment processes. Errors made during the diagnostic process can have a big impact on heart health and outcomes.
These are just some of the medical professionals who might be responsible for a cardiology error. An experienced cardiology malpractice lawyer can evaluate the facts of your case to determine who might be liable for your injuries.
Types of Cardiology Medical Malpractice
Cardiology medical malpractice can occur in many different ways. Some of the most common examples of this kind of malpractice include the following:
- Delayed diagnosis,
- Failure to diagnose heart attacks,
- Heart surgery errors,
- Failure to properly monitor a patient,
- Improper stent placement,
- Inappropriate medication, and
- Failure to properly interpret a stress test.
A 2019 study found that misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose were two of the most commonly cited concerns in cardiology malpractice cases.
The heart is a vital organ, and any signs of cardiac issues or malpractice should be addressed immediately. If you believe that you or a loved one might have been injured by malpractice, you should speak to a cardiology malpractice lawyer to learn more about your legal options.
How Common Is Heart Disease?
Medical professionals who specialize in cardiology do important and life-saving work, which is why it is imperative they meet the standards of their profession. According to the CDC, heart disease is extremely common and is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people in nearly all racial and ethnic groups in the United States. About 20 million U.S. adults suffer from coronary artery disease, which accounts for about 7% of the U.S. population. One person dies from cardiovascular disease every 34 seconds in the United States, with 1 in 5 deaths in the U.S. being linked to heart disease. Heart disease also carries tremendous economic costs. According to the CDC, heart disease cost the U.S. about $299 billion annually from 2017 to 2018. That amount includes the cost of medicine, health care services, and lost productivity.
Do You Have a Cardiology Malpractice Case?
Medical malpractice falls under the umbrella of personal injury law. This is a specialized area of law because medical practitioners and facilities are required to satisfy a very specific standard of care. Medical malpractice cases also depend on legal nuances specific to each state, which is why hiring a cardiology malpractice lawyer who has experience successfully bringing malpractice claims is so important.
To have a successful medical malpractice case, you must be able to prove the negligent action or inaction of your medical provider caused you actual harm that could have been prevented. Nearly all medical treatments and procedures carry risks because each person’s body is unique and might react differently than someone else’s. In a malpractice case, the medical provider must be able to prove they took every reasonable precaution to ensure the safety of the patient under their care.
Elements of Cardiology Medical Malpractice
There are several elements of a cardiology medical malpractice claim an injured patient must establish to collect compensation.
First, the injured patient must have had an official doctor-patient relationship with the medical professional. This relationship establishes that the doctor owed the patient a legal duty of care.
Next, the medical professional must have breached their duty of care by doing something or failing to do something that caused the patient’s injuries and damages. The standard of care for a medical provider is generally defined as the level of care that a competent, skilled medical professional with a similar background and training would provide if presented with similar circumstances. If the provider’s conduct was not in line with the standard of care, they might have breached their duty of care.
The patient must then show the provider’s breach caused their injury. This element is called causation. Typically, an injured patient will establish causation by applying the “but-for” test. When applying that test, the patient needs to show that, but for the provider’s breach of duty, the patient would not have suffered their injury. In other words, the patient needs to show that if the provider had not breached their duty of care, their injury would not have happened.
Finally, in order to collect compensation, the patient must show they suffered damages they can be compensated for, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Contact a Cardiology Malpractice Lawyer
Medical malpractice claims are inherently complicated, but that does not mean you should give up. Most hospitals and doctors have medical malpractice insurance that specifically addresses injuries like yours. Insurance companies exist to cover the costs of medical malpractice claims, but they are not required to offer you a fair settlement. Allow the award-winning team at O’Conner, Parsons, Lane & Noble to evaluate your claim, gather evidence, and negotiate on your behalf. If we cannot reach a fair settlement, we are always prepared to go to trial to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us to schedule your case consultation today.