Strokes are often debilitating and often fatal, so treating strokes promptly is essential and crucial to long term outcome.

A stroke is a serious medical event in which blood supply to the brain is cut off. This results in the brain being deprived of oxygenated blood and causes damage or death to brain tissue. Stroke types are classified by how much and what type of damage they do to the brain, including whether they cut off the supply of blood to the brain entirely or temporarily hinder blood supply. A stroke can also be caused by bleeding in the brain.

What Is A
Stroke Misdiagnosis?

A misdiagnosis happens whenever a doctor fails to diagnose a patient’s illness accurately. In the setting of a stroke, this can result in delaying the correct diagnosis or missing the right diagnosis entirely. A misdiagnosis of stroke can have catastrophic or even fatal consequences for a patient. Hopefully, a stroke victim’s symptoms and witnessed history will be enough to allow a doctor to make an accurate and timely stroke diagnosis. A person may suffer from any of the following types of strokes, and doctors must conduct testing to fully understand what type of stroke a person had. There are three main types of strokes:

  • Ischemic Strokes happen when the brain doesn’t receive adequate blood flow, usually through blocked (i.e. due to a clot) or narrowed blood vessels throughout the brain. These account for approximately 87% of all strokes.
  • Hemorrhagic Strokes occur when a blood vessel ruptures and puts pressure on the brain as the blood builds up inside the skull.
  • Transient Ischemic Attacks (T.I.A.) or mini-strokes, are when blood flow to the brain is reduced or stopped for short periods.

A doctor’s prompt diagnosis of a stroke will determine the best treatment to prevent permanent brain damage and serious, long term injuries from the stroke. Therefore, a misdiagnosis of a stroke can have lasting consequences on a stroke victim.

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Why Might My Doctor Misdiagnose My Stroke?

Some of the reasons a doctor might delay diagnosis or misdiagnose a stroke include:

  • Failing to conduct a full and complete physical exam to discover symptoms of stroke
  • Failing to conduct the necessary testing to diagnose a stroke, such as a head scan or blood work
  • Failing to accurately interpret brain imaging, such as a CT scan or MRI, that shows signs of a stroke
  • The symptoms of a stroke are incorrectly believed to be another disease or psychiatric condition
  • Delay in providing treatment for a stroke, such as clot-busting medication [TPA] or surgical measures to extract or break up a clot
  • Disregarding initial symptoms of a stroke because a patient seems otherwise healthy
  • Too much time taken to send out for diagnostic tests
These mistakes by a doctor or hospital can cause irreparable harm to stroke patients and are a form of medical malpractice.

What Are The Main Causes & Risk Factors For Strokes:

Strokes are often preventable. Because strokes happen when blood supply is cut off to the brain, ensuring optimal blood pressure and cholesterol levels are great ways to reduce your risk factors for stroke.

Age is a common risk factor for strokes. We can’t help aging, but when we do our best to prevent strokes by living a healthy lifestyle, we lower the risk of stroke as we age.

Regardless of a stroke’s cause or any risk factors you may have, doctors and hospitals are required to appropriately and expeditiously diagnose and treat a stroke when it happens to one of their patients. tIf they fail to do so then they may be held liable in a case for medical malpractice.

What Are The Signs Of Strokes?

If a stroke does unfortunately happen, acting quickly to get a stroke victim to a medical provider will be that person’s best chance of surviving and making a full recovery. It may also reduce the length of recovery time, depending on the severity of the stroke.
To spot the signs of a stroke, remember F.A.S.T. The letters in this acronym remind responders how important it is to act in a timely manner, but they also help them remember the signs of a stroke. F.A.S.T. helps you remember the following:

  • Face: Usually the first sign of a stroke, the face will react to the lack of blood supply to the brain. This might result in facial drooping or paralysis. If you suspect a person is having a stroke, ask them to smile. If one side of their face remains still, or they cannot smile at all, call for medical help immediately.
  • Arms: Next, check the stroke victim for arm paralysis or weakness. Ask them to lift both of their arms above their heads. If only one arm raises, or if both arms raise and one drifts downward, make a note of this and call for medical help if you haven’t already.
  • Speech: Slurred speech is another indication of a stroke. Ask the person to answer a simple question. You might ask them what their street address is, the name of their children or pets, or what they had for breakfast. If their speech is slurred or nonsensical, this is another indication of brain trauma. At this point, if you have not called for medical help, do so right away.
  • Time: Remember that time is of the essence when it comes to a person’s health after a stroke. If you notice even one of the above symptoms, it is time to call an ambulance.

Getting a loved one in an ambulance and to the hospital when they show signs of a stroke are just the initial steps to helping a stroke victim avoid long term damage. It then becomes the responsibility of the doctors and hospital to quickly diagnose the stroke through examination and testing as well as to begin treatment as soon as possible. The timeliness that diagnosis and treatment occur is critical to the stroke victim’s ultimate prognosis.

What Injuries Can a Stroke Cause?

Because a stroke can result in catastrophic and permanently debilitating injuries, this makes prompt diagnosis and treatment all the more important. Some of the significant injuries that can result from a stroke may include:

  • Paralysis
  • Hemiparesis (one sided weakness or paralysis)
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Impaired speech
  • Aphasia (inability to understand or express language)
  • Vision loss/Blindness
  • Inability to swallow or take feeds by mouth
  • Other severe neurological injury

Are Injuries From Strokes Preventable?

Injuries from strokes are often preventable. The timing with which a stroke is diagnosed and properly treated by a doctor will generally be crucial to the patient’s ultimate prognosis. When someone suffers a stroke “time is brain” and any even minimal delays can result in brain damage and permanent neurological deficits.

Doctors and hospitals are armed with a variety of treatments for stroke patients that can help reduce or eliminate any severe or permanent injuries from the stroke. For instance, doctors can administer a “clot-busting” medication called tissue plasminogen activator [TPA] that breaks up the clot that is causing blockage or disruption in the flow to the brain. TPA can only be given shortly (within hours) after the onset of stroke symptoms. This allows for the restoration of blood flow to the brain and prevents against permanent brain damage and associated neurological injuries.

Additionally, medical providers are able to treat stroke with surgical interventions. Thrombectomy is a procedure where a catheter is inserted into a blocked blood vessel and used to suck out the clot to restore blood flow. Thrombolysis is another procedure where the clot is broken up directly in the vessel to restore blood flow. Again, with these surgical interventions timing is of the essence to prevent permanent brain damage from the stroke.

If you have suffered a hemorrhagic stroke with bleeding in or around your brain, then you’ll be given medication to reduce the effects of bleeding and may need to undergo a surgical procedure to repair a burst blood vessel.

In addition to the treatment of an acute stroke, your doctor may prescribe cholesterol-lowering medications, anti-hypertensive medications, antiplatelet drugs, or anticoagulants that help prevent a stroke from ever happening in the first place.

What Should I Do If I Believe My Doctor Misdiagnosed A Stroke?

If you believe you or someone you loved suffered a stroke and didn’t receive proper care, you should contact VSCP LAW today for a free case evaluation. During their legal careers the attorneys at VSCP LAW have helped to secure numerous seven and eight figure recoveries in stroke medical malpractice cases.  These awards have been crucial in compensating stroke victims for their significant injuries and costly ongoing care.

Each state has its legal limitations for the time periods during which people are allowed to sue for misdiagnosis or malpractice. An experienced legal team like VSCP LAW will help guide stroke victims and their families through the legal process.

Why Pursue A Stroke Misdiagnosis Claim?

Stroke diagnosis compensation helps families pay for the cost of rehabilitation, medical bills, medication, medical transport, and the undue pain and suffering caused by a misdiagnosis. Most importantly, it holds doctors and medical staff accountable for their errors, preventing misdiagnoses and delays in the future.

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