Both men and women can suffer from heart attacks, but the type of medical treatment that they get is often not the same. One of the problems is that doctors are more likely to misdiagnose a heart attack in female patients than they would in male patients.
One reason that this happens is a stereotype about who is most likely to have a heart attack in the first place. As one medical professional put it: “Heart attack has traditionally been considered a male disease, and has been understudied, underdiagnosed, and undertreated in women.” This means that a woman who shows up at the hospital with serious symptoms may not get the treatment they need or may even be sent home and told they have a different issue, which can then become fatal since they are no longer in the hospital.
Why would a misdiagnosis happen?
One reason for misdiagnoses is that people often assume female patients are suffering from anxiety or stress, rather than a heart attack. They may accidentally attribute the symptoms to these underlying issues.
Another issue is with chest pain itself, which is more often present in men than in women. This can lead to a misdiagnosis if a woman says she isn’t having chest pain but she is still having a heart attack. At the same time, even women who said they were having chest pain were more often misdiagnosed in the study, so it’s clear that this is not the only issue. It simply seems like doctors are less likely to believe a female patient is having a heart attack, and this delays treatment.
Have you lost a loved one?
If you have suffered serious complications or even lost a loved one because the doctor made a misdiagnosis or some other medical mistake, you need to know exactly what options you have.