Leeseberg & Valentine

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The connection between brain injury and heart attack

Did you go to the emergency room or your family doctor with symptoms you think may be a heart attack, but your doctor sent you home with another diagnosis or no diagnosis? Hopefully that was the end of it, but you may have suffered a serious heart attack that required the administration of CPR and a trip to the hospital.

When you awoke, you may not have been the same person you were prior to the incident. First, you are alive, but that doesn't let your doctor off the hook for failing to properly diagnose your condition earlier when it may have spared you any lingering effects from your serious heart attack.

A brain without oxygen may never work properly again

An undiagnosed heart attack, even a mild one, could result in unintended and unexpected health consequences. A heart attack can lead to an anoxic brain injury. Your brain requires a constant flow of oxygen. When denied that, the cells begin to die, and it takes as little as four minutes for that process to begin. The longer your brain failed to receive much needed oxygen from your blood, the higher the changes became that you suffered brain damage.

This makes the receipt of immediate treatment crucial to limiting brain damage. The supply of oxygen to your brain must begin again as quickly as possible. Then doctors can concentrate on what comes next.

When assessing your condition, numerous diagnostic methods may be used. The type of treatment your doctor orders depends on what led to the anoxic brain injury -- in your case a heart attack -- and how long you remained unconscious and without oxygen. Doctors may use different treatments in an attempt to rehabilitate you, but you may never fully recover from the brain injury.

What happens now?

You may go through rehabilitation in order to get as much of your life back as possible. Even so, you could now have limitations that prevent you from the life you enjoyed prior to your heart attack. In fact, you may never be able to return to work either.

In the meantime, the medical bills continue to pile up and you can't work. You more than likely also have other financial losses to deal with that may seem insurmountable. You may question whether this would be happening to you if the original doctor had properly diagnosed your condition. If you suspect that you may have a medical malpractice claim, it may be beneficial to take advantage of legal resources here in Columbus that are at your disposal.

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