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Emergency Room Delays

Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Attorneys: Representing Victims of ER Delays

According to the American Heart Association, 1.5 million Americans have a heart attack (known as a myocardial infarction or MI) each year, and about 20% of them die before reaching a hospital. If proper medical treatment is administered within 60 minutes of the event, the odds for surviving improve dramatically and the likelihood of serious damage to heart tissue decreases. Once presentation is made to an Emergency Room (ER), it is essential for the ER doctors and medical staff to act quickly in diagnosing the MI and administering treatment to allow blood flow to return to the heart.

Delay in diagnosis and/or providing definitive care will lead to the death of heart muscle, causing congestive heart failure. The extent of damage will depend on how much and how long oxygen deprivation occurs. Ultimately, this delay can cause death or the need for a heart transplant.

Aggressive Help When You Need It Most

Malove Henratty, P.A. has successfully prosecuted negligent doctors and hospitals for untimely attendance to patients with an evolving myocardial infarction. Diagnosis and treatment of a myocardial infarction is a common event that every properly trained doctor working in an ER in the United States should be competent to handle. All too often, emergency room personnel "drop the ball," causing catastrophic damage to their patients. At Malove Henratty, P.A., our Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys can help recover money damages for the victims and families of these negligent acts.

Call (954) 767-1000 to schedule an initial consultation, free of charge, or contact us here.

What Causes Heart Attacks?

The anatomy of a heart attack occurs over many years as fatty plaques build up on the inner walls of coronary arteries, causing these vessels to harden and narrow and reducing the flow of blood to the heart muscle. Most myocardial infarctions occur when a clot forms in one of these arteries and completely blocks the blood supply to a part of the heart. If deprived of oxygen and nutrients long enough, this portion of the muscle will die; surrounding tissue also may be damaged. During the attack, the heart contracts weakly instead of pumping blood forcefully to the brain and other vital organs. Its electrical activity may also become erratic, increasing the likelihood that a sudden and fatal arrhythmia could occur.

A myocardial infarction is typically accompanied by sensations of crushing pressure or fullness, or by searing in the chest that may be mistaken for severe heartburn. The pain may radiate to the shoulders or arms (typically on the left, although either or both sides may be affected), as well as to the neck, jaw, or back.

Other common symptoms include:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Faintness
  • Feeling clammy to the touch

The Importance of the National Heart Attack Alert Program

In an effort to increase the number of heart attack patients treated during this "golden hour," the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has initiated the National Heart Attack Alert Program, which focuses on educating the public about symptoms and the need for rapid medical intervention, improving the response times and expertise of Emergency Medical System (EMS) personnel, and streamlining the procedures hospitals use to evaluate and admit people who may have suffered a myocardial infarction. The public needs to know to seek medical treatment rapidly upon the onset of an evolving MI, but the emergency room staff should be ready to treat and diagnose the MI the minute the patient enters the ER doors.

If you or a loved one experienced a delay in treatment in a South Florida ER, contact us for help.