Doctors Can Miss Other Serious Medical Conditions That Cause Chest Pains

Most patients are relieved to hear that they’re not having a heart attack, but ruling out cardiac emergencies doesn’t necessarily mean that patients don’t need medical attention. Even after a chest x-ray and EKG have come back normal, chest pain is a serious concern—with potentially serious consequences when the cause goes undiagnosed. Although the doctor may be sure that a patient isn’t having a heart attack, chest pain may indicate a number of other conditions that require medical attention, such as:

  • Aortic dissection
  • Lung infections
  • Blockages in the arteries or lungs
  • Inflammation in the lungs or heart
  • Other cardiac diseases

Because of this, it’s important for urgent care staff, doctors, nurses, and hospitals to continue testing in a patient with chest pain to rule out these serious complications and prevent injury to the patient.

The Consequences of Failing to Diagnose Other Causes of Chest Pains

When doctors rule out a heart attack, there can still be questions about what is causing the patient’s symptoms. If doctors don’t investigate complaints of chest pains further, the patient can suffer preventable consequences. In the case of undiagnosed lung infections, patients can develop serious breathing problems and scarring in the lungs while a diagnosis is delayed. In the case of aortic dissection or pulmonary embolism, the consequence of a missed diagnosis could be death.

Patients trust their doctors to take reasonable measures to protect their health and find out what’s wrong. When doctors make mistakes, ignore potentially serious symptoms, or send a patient home before adequate testing is performed, the victims can pursue a financial recovery against the doctor or hospital responsible.

For more information about misdiagnosed chest pains or filing a medical malpractice claim, don’t hesitate to reach out to our legal team at 312-332-1400 for help.

Electronic Health Records Could Affect Your Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Digitizing patients’ medical records and health information was supposed to facilitate patient care. However, now that electronic health records (EHRs) are being widely used by physicians and hospitals around the nation, they may have come with unforeseen problems. The move to EHRs has changed medical recordkeeping significantly—but EHRs could also be an increasing issue in medical malpractice lawsuits.

How Electronic Health Records (EHRs) Play a Part in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

There has always been some risk of medical errors and mistakes in patient care, but new issues with documentation in patients’ electronic records can complicate these kinds of cases and create unique problems of their own. According to a study by the Doctors Company, only about one percent of malpractice lawsuits involved EHR issues in the period from 2007 to 2013. However, malpractice cases involving EHR issues doubled from 2013 to 2014. While you consider those numbers, remember also that medical malpractice lawsuits can take five or six years to resolve, and the use of electronic records has grown exponentially in the last decade.

Here are some examples of the types of medical errors and patient-care issues that electronic medical records can cause or contribute to:

  • Typos and data-entry errors in patient records
  • Inaccurate or outdated patient information
  • Errors from the use of voice-recognition software
  • Use of EHR technology in the exam room that takes eyes and attention off the patient
  • Differences between the treatment a patient receives and what is recorded in the electronic chart
  • Medication errors

Overall, it seems clear that electronic records are having a big effect on patient care, but the move to digitization is also potentially putting patients at risk.

Who Is Liable When Patient Care Is Affected by the Use of EHR Software

For the patient who doesn’t get needed care, it may not seem to matter who made the mistake—just that an error was made which affected his health or comfort. However, as more and more malpractice lawsuits are looking closely at EHR use in offices and hospitals around the nation, the growing price tag on digital medical mistakes has opened up some big questions about who has to pay when patients are harmed.

Is it the Fault of Doctors and Nurses When Electronic Records Are Inaccurate?

While doctor’s offices and hospitals are usually at the center of medical malpractice lawsuits involving EHR issues, the question of their responsibility may not be as simple as it seems. Patient records printed from electronic records systems don’t always reflect the templates and menu options that the doctors and nurses see when they add documentation to the patient’s chart. Care providers also run into problems with:

  • How they were trained to use a system
  • How to interpret menu options
  • Generic pop-up warnings and alerts that may not apply to an individual patient
  • Time spent on health updates prompted by the system, instead of on notes about the patient’s current conditions and complaints
  • Use of both digital charts and old paper charts, especially during EHR adoption
  • Increased need to review non-urgent documentation from other doctors and facilities
  • Use of “cut and paste” to fill in patient documentation

In some recent medical malpractice cases, electronic health records containing discrepancies between the record and actual care provided, inaccurate information, and poor use of generic templates have led to discrediting both the patient’s health record and the doctor’s testimony as evidence.

Are Software Companies Responsible for EHR Medical Errors?

Questions about responsibility in medical malpractice cases are also being turned to the companies that provide EHR software to doctors and hospitals. Many care providers are shifting the blame for poor medical recordkeeping and information gaps to the software that is used, which might include:

  • Confusing menu options
  • Set drop-down options and fields that limit what is recorded and how
  • Prompts and warnings that increase the amount of non-urgent documentation and take time and focus away from more important issues in patient care

Currently, many software companies are protected from lawsuits of this nature, but that could change in the future. Some experts predict that it won’t be long until lawsuits from physicians and medical facilities crop up in an attempt to hold software vendors responsible for errors in patient records.

How the Victims of Medical Malpractice Can Get Answers About EHR Issues in Their Own Cases

Do you need serious answers about the part that your medical record has played in your care? Medical malpractice cases are often complex, and there can be numerous mistakes and failures that play a part in patients not getting the care they deserve. If you have questions about something that happened to you or a family member, or if you want to further investigate how EHRs may have played a part in your case, don’t hesitate to contact our law office at 312-332-1400 or toll-free at 312-332-1400.

Your Body, Their Notes: Your Rights to Your Own Medical Records

Obtaining Copies of Your Medical Records: Your Rights

In the rapidly changing health care environment of the United States, patients are encountering more and more challenges in getting their hands on their medical records. Not long ago, The New York Times published an article to bring light to this situation.

The article described several situations in which patients were denied copies of their medical records due to HIPAA or what the hospital and doctor’s office described as the patient’s own protection and privacy concerns. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that these health care facilities were looking out for that patient’s privacy at all—they were looking out for their own pocketbooks.

There are laws in place to protect a patient’s privacy, as well as laws in place to ensure a patient has access to his own medical record. Despite these laws, medical facilities place hurdles in obtaining medical records to keep patients from leaving the practice or the medical facility to go to different health care providers.

You Have Rights

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reminds us that, under the medical privacy law (HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), patients have rights to inspect, review, and receive a copy of their medical and billing records. These rights are granted only to the patient or the patient’s representative. A health care provider may charge you a reasonable cost for copying and mailing the record. You may not be denied your medical records because you owe a bill to the health care provider. You do not have access to psychotherapy notes.

The health care provider is required to furnish the medical records to you within 30 days in most cases; however, if there are extenuating circumstances, the provider may take up to 60 days. HIPPA is a federal law that provides a baseline guarantee of your medical privacy rights; some individual states also have their own laws regarding patient access to his medical records. In all situations, the provider is required to abide by the law that provides the patient with the most rights.

Electronic Health Records

The federal government has recently offered incentives for health care providers to adopt electronic medical records. Among other things, this program is designed to promote patients’ access to their health records and to encourage the use of online patient portals. Many providers have begun to implement these portals to help patients gain access to their records and to ease the transition of care to other providers.

Even so, some health care providers are lagging behind. They are unwilling to give up control of patient information, because empowering patients may loosen their grip on profitable patients.

Have you faced medical hardship because a doctor, hospital, or other medical provider has been too restrictive in releasing your health records? You may have a legal claim that will allow you to recoup your losses. Fill in the speedy contact box on this page to get help now.

Who Is Responsible When Nurse Malpractice Causes a Brain Injury?

You went in for a procedure, hospital stay, or even just routine medical care, but you left with a serious brain injury and suspect the nurse who cared for you might have made a mistake that caused it. Who is legally responsible for what happened to you?

While families can seek justice for medical mistakes or negligence on the part of a nurse or member of the team caring for their loved one, there is a complicated legal process involved—even before you’ve made any decisions about how to move forward. Before you start determining responsibility for a brain injury, you have to look at the basics. Unfortunately, state laws can vary, and it usually takes a skilled legal analysis to determine:

  • If the nurse made a mistake that is considered malpractice under the law
  • If you have grounds for a lawsuit.


Even if it is determined that your family has a potential case, there are a number of potential people who may hold the legal responsibility for a nurse’s mistake, including:

  • The nurse
  • The hospital or facility
  • The doctor or medical supervisor the nurse was working under at the time


Again, this process is confusing, and most patients struggle to make sense of it. Just remember that you can get specific answers about responsibility in a medical malpractice case by speaking directly with an experienced legal representative.

It’s normal to feel confused and overwhelmed after you have been hurt by a medical provider you trusted with your health, but you don’t have to keep wondering how to get help. Request a free copy of our eye-opening book, What to Do If You Have Been Injured by Your Doctors or Hospital, or contact our law firm right now by using the live-chat service on this page.

Too Much or Not Enough: Your Medical Treatment Should Be “Just Right”

While doctors on television and in the movies may go to extremes in treating their patients, real doctors need to balance treatment with a patient’s needs and risks. If a doctor, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, or another medical provider goes to extremes in real life, there’s a real chance of serious injuries—or even the death of a patient. This includes both ends of the treatment spectrum, whether a care provider is:

  • Too aggressive. Whether you are coping with a chronic condition like diabetes or coming in with new concerns, you may appreciate that your doctor is doing everything possible to care for you. However, if a doctor is overly aggressive in treating you, it could mean that you’re taking too many medications, suffering through needless or risky tests and procedures, and damaging your health.
  • Not aggressive enough. On the other hand, a doctor who doesn’t follow up on your concerns and test results or doesn’t seem to hear your medical complaints may miss serious conditions until they cause major complications or become impossible to treat effectively.


It’s a physician’s duty to find the right balance for each patient’s care, and doctors need to have a good reason to stray from accepted medical protocols and treatment options. Although it may not be easy to find a “happy medium,” doctors need to take steps to make sure that they’re being proactive without being unnecessarily aggressive.

Do you have questions about a surgical injury or potential medical mistake? Get answers by reading our free book, What to Do If You Have Been Injured by Your Doctors or Hospital, or using the live-chat service on this page to connect with a member of our team.

Patients Often Suffer Medical Mistakes Without Apology or Acknowledgement From Doctors

When patients are affected by a medical mistake, they rarely hear the words “I’m sorry”—and they might not hear about it at all. National Public Radio (NPR) recently published an article addressing the issues surrounding the non-disclosure of medical errors and the pressing question of why doctors and hospitals have only rarely taken responsibility for mistakes in the past.

Medical Mistakes Are More Common Than You Might Think

Medical mistakes are very common, and NPR cites a 2013 study from the Journal of Patient Safety, saying that an estimated 210,000 hospital patients die every year due to medical errors—and that number doesn’t include the many other patients who are harmed outside of the hospital, left with non-life-threatening injuries, or make a full recovery.

The reality is that human error is always a possibility in medical care. But why are so many mistakes hidden from patients and their families, and why do so many families end up paying for errors they weren’t responsible for? Unfortunately, there has been a long-time policy of silence about mistakes in the medical community, but new changes in the patient-care industry may be forcing medical providers and facilities to reconsider how these kinds of incidents are handled.

What Should Happen After a Medical Mistake

In a perfect world, care providers who make medical mistakes would take responsibility for their errors and reach out to patients in order to:

  • Disclose. Even when errors are known, patients may not be informed. The first step toward taking responsibility for a medical mistake is letting a patient know what happened and why.
  • Apologize. Although an apology can’t change what happened, patients deserve a sincere apology when the provider they’ve trusted with their health makes a mistake.
  • Compensate. While negligent doctors and hospitals should foot the bill after a mistake and sometimes do, the Journal of Patient Safety published data that showed at least 30 percent of patients hurt by medical mistakes end up paying some or all of the costs of the error.


In practice, however, doctors are often hesitant to take responsibility for mistakes and oversights, and the problem may not be as easy to address as it should be.

Why Doctors May Be Hesitant to Admit Medical Mistakes

Why are medical professionals so hesitant to admit their mistakes? Many doctors and care providers fail to address mistakes because:

  • They are afraid of humiliation and loss of reputation.
  • They fear malpractice claims from patients.
  • They simply don’t know how to react because they’ve never been trained for the event.
  • They are following hospital or risk-management policies at work.


In many cases, these roadblocks to transparency could be opened with the right training and policies in place, but it has so long been an industry practice to hide errors that hospitals and doctors are hesitant to start looking at the problem. However, with the urging of advocates around the nation, change may be close on the horizon for many care providers.

How Disclosure Policies Help

As more medical schools begin to address the issue of medical mistakes and more medical facilities and hospitals adopt disclosure policies, patients may see a major change in how they are treated after an error. Additionally, other care providers and medical support staff—such as nurses, medical assistants, dentists, pharmacists, and more—are also now more likely to receive training about how to handle mistakes ethically and with the patient in mind.

Beyond the ethical concerns, there is some evidence that training and formal disclosure policies actually help reduce malpractice claims after errors, could actually build patient-doctor relationships, and don’t have a dramatic effect on whether or not a patient pursues legal action.

However, despite the ways patient care is changing, some medical providers and facilities still attempt to conceal medical mistakes as a matter of policy—and when they do, patients can get help uncovering the truth.

If you or your loved ones have been hurt because a doctor, pharmacist, dentist, nurse, or other care provider made a mistake, you deserve an apology and some acknowledgement of the error. For more information about your rights in these difficult situations, or to take advantage of a free case review, don’t hesitate to contact our office by using the live-chat service on this page.

Get Answers, Contact Us Now REQUEST A CONSULTATION
OR CALL NOW 312-332-1400