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Can faster care mean doctor errors for heart attack patients?

Queens, New York, residents and medical practitioners know that it is touch-and-go when it comes to a heart attack. Patients need prompt care to save their lives and reduce the debilitating effects. Hospitals seem to have adjusted to this need as they now respond more quickly when it comes to such a situation. However, a recent study showed that faster care does not necessarily save more patients' lives.

According to a study from the New England Journal of Medicine, hospitals have trimmed the time to get heart attack patients to treatment to 67 minutes. The average time was previously 83 minutes, indicating a 16-minute reduction. Additionally, in an analysis of 97,000 hospital admissions, with the time reduction the percentage of people treated within 90 minutes increased from 60 to 83 percent.

During heart attack treatment, doctors often unclog arteries and restore blood flow to stop the heart from dying. Tissue death from a heart attack happens in the first two to three hours, while irreversible damage can start as early as 30 minutes. The concern is the early detection of symptoms; otherwise, a doctor may misdiagnose or delay treatment of a patient who really needs it.

Timely care is always needed when it comes to treatment, but the quality should not suffer in the process. Doctors should be well aware of this. Doctor errors can lead to a patient's worsened condition and could even result in a fatality. This is especially clear in heart attack cases and other serious health conditions.

No matter what a Queen's resident's condition may be, negligence and medical errors are never acceptable. A resident subjected to negligence may wish to consider pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit to help obtain compensation for corrective treatment as well as holding a medical practitioner liable for his or her actions.

Source: Trib Live, "Faster care has not cut number of heart attack deaths," Sept. 15, 2013

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