The medical condition known as stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Often a direct effect of blood clots or other artery blockage which prevents oxygen and blood from reaching the brain, stroke kills about 150,000 Americans yearly. Advances in medical imaging and other diagnostic technologies have improved early detection of stroke risk, but many stroke cases are the result of a failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis by medical professionals.
In an emergency room setting, the physician may suspect stroke in patients who:
- have certain hereditary conditions
- recently had surgery
- report warning signs: headache, neck pain, weakness, or vision changes
Two Types of Stroke
The two types of stroke are the ischemic stroke and the hemorrhagic stroke. An ischemic stroke, also known as a transient ischemic or mini-stroke, occurs due to an artery blockage, often a blood clot. Time is of the essence because blood clots that go untreated can lead to anoxic brain injury, which can cause irreversible behavioral, emotional, mental and physical disability. Diagnosed properly, and quickly, ischemic stroke can be treated and these effects prevented.
Hemorrhagic stroke is the result of a break in the blood vessels, causing bleeding in the brain. The treatment for hemorrhagic stroke differs greatly than that for ischemic stroke. Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnosis the type of stroke can cause further injury to the patient, or even death.
Is It Medical Malpractice?
A medical malpractice suit for failure to diagnose stroke may be brought when stroke could have been prevented if proper care were provided, or when the patient is harmed through outright negligence. The failure to conduct specific tests or provide treatment within written standards of care – from diagnosis to medications and surgical intervention – may mean you are entitled to compensation for injury or the death of a loved one.
If you think you have a legal case from a failure to diagnose stroke, speak with a qualified malpractice attorney to get the help you need.