Tag Archives: misdiagnosis of heart disease

Hysterical female? Just anxious? Or heart attack?

27 Mar

woman_depression

A guest post written by Patti Digh, social activist, heart attack survivor, and the author of eight books including her best seller Life is a Verb: 37 Days To Wake Up, Be Mindful, And Live Intentionally.  This essay originally ran on her blog 37 Days in January 2016.

“He’s working with a med student shadowing him today. Do you mind being seen by her first?”

In the spirit of education, I said, “No, of course not.”

She had long strawberry blond hair and big glasses. We talked. “What brought you here today?” she asked. Continue reading

Misdiagnosis: is it what doctors think, or HOW they think?

25 May

As a heart attack survivor who was sent home from the E.R. with a misdiagnosis of indigestion despite presenting with textbook symptoms (central chest pain, nausea, sweating and pain radiating down my left arm), I’m pretty interested in the subject of why women are far more likely to be misdiagnosed in mid-heart attack compared to our male counterparts.

Dr. Pat Croskerry is pretty interested in the subject of misdiagnosis, too. He’s an Emergency Medicine physician, a patient safety expert and director of the critical thinking program at Dalhousie University Medical School in Halifax. In fact, he implemented at Dal the first undergraduate course in Canada about medical error in clinical decision-making, specifically around why and how physicians make diagnostic errors. Every year, he gives a deceptively simple critical thinking quiz to his incoming first-year med students.

So here’s your chance to practice thinking like a doctor. Try answering these yourself, but as Dr. Croskerry advises, don’t think too hard. If you were an Emergency Department physician, paramedic or first responder, he warns, you’d have only seconds to size things up and make a decision. Don’t read ahead to peek at the answers! Now, here are your questions:   Continue reading

How can we get female heart patients past ER gatekeepers?

15 Nov

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

Sometimes, people in my women’s heart health presentation audiences ask me if I’ve ever gone back to confront the physician who had misdiagnosed me with indigestion and sent me home from the E.R. – despite my textbook heart attack symptoms of chest pain, nausea, sweating and pain radiating down my left arm.  No, my heart sisters, I never did. But what did happen was, I think, even more satisfyingly juicy.   

Months after surviving that heart attack, and freshly fortified with Mayo Clinic cred after graduating from their annual WomenHeart Science & Leadership training for women with heart disease, I received an invitation to share what I’d just learned at Mayo to local docs and nurses working in Emergency Medicine.  I was offered one whole hour on the agenda of their annual Staff Education Day to talk about my own fateful misdiagnosis – and how, according to the Mayo Women’s Heart Clinic, that scenario might be avoided for future female heart patients like me: women who present with textbook cardiac symptoms but “normal” diagnostic tests. 

And as a patient advocate recently told physicians at a national symposium on integrated health care:

“The only way to heal a bad experience is to make it better for the next person.”   Continue reading

‘Gaslighting’ – or, why women are just too darned emotional during their heart attacks

25 Nov

by Carolyn Thomas  ♥  @HeartSisters

I came across the term gaslighting the other day, and I immediately grasped its practical application to everyday life. (Very similar reaction, in fact, to first hearing the word mansplaining!) But I digress. The concept of gaslighting may ring bells for any woman who has been misdiagnosed in mid-heart attack, patted on the head and sent home from the E.R. in abject embarrassment. Continue reading

Seven ways to misdiagnose a heart attack

9 May

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

I’ve had a keen – some might say obsessive – interest in the subject of medical misdiagnosis ever since a man with the letters M.D. after his name sent me home from the Emergency Department in mid-heart attack. I had just been misdiagnosed with acid reflux – despite presenting with textbook cardiac symptoms.

These included crushing central chest pain, nausea, sweating, and pain radiating down my left arm. How can modern medicine still be making such potentially deadly misdiagnoses like this? Continue reading