Stroke comes fifth on the list of leading causes of death in America. According to the American Stroke Association, stroke kills approximately 130,000 people every year and is the leading cause of disabilities in adults.
Over 9 percent of stroke cases are misdiagnosed, with some resulting in permanent disabilities or death. That means that approximately 10,000 deaths are avoidable every year.
The reason behind stroke misdiagnosis is that it can sometimes present itself as other conditions, such as migraines. What if a patient with a history of migraines goes into an emergency room with a stroke presenting itself in the form of severe headaches? The doctor may mistakenly assume it is another migraine attack and so administer migraine medication.
Unfortunately, every minute matters in stroke interventions, and every minute lost can have devastating consequences. Some common stroke signs include numbness or weakness of one side of the body, for example, face, arm, or leg, loss of motor coordination, difficulty seeing in one or both eyes, slurred speech, confusion, and severe headaches.
Doctor’s Duty Of Care
If a patient manifests any of the above symptoms, the ER doctor must conduct all necessary tests to rule out the possibility of a stroke. The most basic tests used to determine the presence, severity, location, and type of stroke are MRI and CT scans.
Failure to conduct tests can amount to a deviation from the standard of care a reasonable doctor would offer, given the circumstances creating grounds for medical malpractice claim.
Types of Strokes
The consequences of a stroke misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis depend mainly on the type of stroke. The most common and most dangerous type of stroke is an ischemic stroke. This type of stroke is also known as clot stroke and involves a blockage of a brain blood vessel by a blood clot restricting the flow of blood to the brain. When left untreated within three to four hours of an attack, its effects are irreversible and can even be fatal.
Hemorrhagic or bleeding strokes are also relatively common and involve a rapturing of brain blood vessels which causes internal bleeding. They are characterized by severe headaches, but are treatable surgically with little to no long-lasting complications when diagnosed early.
Another type of stroke is transient ischemic attacks or mini-strokes. Mini stroke symptoms resolve within 1 to 24 hours and indicate an impending stroke. The treating doctor can prescribe blood pressure or blood-thinning drugs to avoid the risk of a stroke in the future.
A Lawyer Can Help
If you or a relative has suffered permanent disabilities due to stroke misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis, recouping compensation under personal injury law may be a possibility. However, the burden of proof for medical malpractice lawsuits is relatively high and costly, resulting in many victims taking a poor deal to get away from the hustle.
“Taking the easy way out may prove costlier than it may appear, considering some effects may last a lifetime,” says Berkowitz and Hanna Malpractice and Injury Lawyers. Therefore, your best bet at getting justice for a stroke misdiagnosis is working with an injury lawyer who has experience in stroke misdiagnosis and can adequately foot your bills on a contingency basis if you are on a budget.
A fair settlement for stroke misdiagnosis medical malpractice lawsuits should cover treatment and therapy costs, loss of income, pain and suffering, and psychological distress. Liability capping may apply to some states, so you may want to confirm with your medical malpractice attorney marlton nj if they apply for your state.