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Misdiagnosis of Stroke: Consequences in Patients

Misdiagnosis of Stroke: Consequences in Patients

"Stroke" (cerebrovascular accident). Film x-ray skull lateral with stroke and blank area at left side

Stroke misdiagnosis causes fatal consequences for patients. Medically, the definition of a stroke is “a sudden death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen.” When a stroke occurs, there is an interruption of blood flow to the brain. This results in abnormal functioning, painful, irreversible symptoms, and can be fatal. The cause of a stroke is usually an artery that ruptures or a blockage of brain vessels.

Stroke misdiagnosis is extremely serious and can result in legal consequences. This Shaked Law Firm article provides the facts on the prevention of stroke misdiagnosis.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Stroke misdiagnosis means that a medical professional was unable to recognize a stroke occurring and/or fails to provide proper emergency care at the onset of the stroke. Misdiagnosis also occurs when medical professionals fail to recognize the signs of an impending stroke.

What is stroke misdiagnosis?

Stroke misdiagnosis is serious. It means a doctor or other medical professional is ignoring, or refusing to treat, signs of a stroke. Continue reading for the symptoms doctors miss during an active stroke. On the legal side, misdiagnosis comes with expenses that cause a family financial hardship. These expenses include rehabilitation, long term care, and burial expenses. Further compensation may be available if a wrongful death results from a stroke misdiagnosis.

Know the signs and how to spot a stroke by getting acquainted with the visual aide below!

Stroke emergency awareness and recognition signs, medical procedure infographic

Thorough medical history of a patient, physical exam, and ultrasounds of the carotid artery help give doctors a better picture of impending stroke. However, medical intervention must be immediate. Missing signs of a stroke can result in permanent brain damage and in the worst cases, fatalities.

What are consequences of stroke misdiagnosis?

In stroke misdiagnosis, severe damage occurs. This is due to the time sensitive nature of these medical emergencies. The following are just a few symptoms of the consequences of failing to treat a stroke:

  • Seizures
  • Paralysis (often only on one side)
  • Pain
  • Depression
  • TBI
  • Memory loss
  • Loss of motor skills
  • Changes in mood or behavior

Read more: What is Misdiagnosis After Accident?

What is a Transient Ischemic Attack or TIA?

When a patient suffers a “TIA”, or “Transient Ischemic Attack”, they may experience stroke symptoms. However, the symptoms are temporary. These symptoms are “transient”, or non-permanent in nature. Ischemic Attacks are important to understand. They’re a warning sign a stroke may occur within a short time. The best time to treat a patient for a potential stroke is at the onset of a TIA, if it occurs prior to the stroke. Once a patient suffers a stroke, time is of the essence.

Read more (via PubMed): Diagnosis and management of acute ischemic stroke: speed is critical

Take a look at a visual of a TIA below:

Getting a patient to the hospital quickly at the onset of any potential symptoms means there is still time to keep brain injury from causing further damage. When caught early, stroke damage can be reversible.

Never ignore even the smallest symptoms of a potential stroke!

Preventing a stroke?

It’s possible that with rapid diagnosis, brain damage will not cause permanent injury to the patient. However, treating and detecting a stroke means recognizing warning signs (such as TIA). Furthermore, medical professionals should take complete medical history of the patient to best evaluate stroke risk. Missing aspects of a patient’s history such as familial history of stroke can have serious consequences. Also, for patients that are at risk, performing preemptive imaging of the arteries can give doctors a better idea of whether a patient requires monitoring more closely.

Read more: Why Are Brain Injuries So Dangerous?

What are signs and symptoms of a stroke?

Believe it or not, a stroke can happen to anyone. Young or old, age plays no part in its occurrence. Also, even if a person believes “it can’t happen to me!”, never ignore the warning signs.

Post surgical patients receive extremely close monitoring as blood clots and stroke can be side effects of certain surgeries. As a result, care teams do their best to mitigate this complication. However, stroke misdiagnosis and ultimately brain injury can occur if the patient receives subpar care post-op.

Read more: What is Florida Medical Negligence?

Warning signs to look out for:

  • Change of vision
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty forming words
  • A “drooping” facial expression
  • Sudden, severe headache (this could be a TIA)
  • Loss of strength in the legs (sudden onset)
  • Tingling in the limbs
  • Numbness or paralysis on one side (hemisphere) of the body
  • Fainting or blacking out

Ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes

The picture below provides a look at the two types of strokes that occur most frequently:

Stroke misdiagnosis is serious and can result in legal consequences. Shaked Law Firm provides the facts on the prevention of stroke misdiagnosis.

Is compensation available for patients who suffer stroke misdiagnosis?

In conclusion, stroke misdiagnosis on the part of the doctor leaves them liable for any harm that comes to the patient. This Medical Negligence includes the following scenarios:

  • Missing stroke symptoms in otherwise healthy patients
  • Ignoring stroke symptoms in younger patients
  • Failure to order tests necessary to diagnose a stroke or TIA
  • Delaying stroke diagnosis testing
  • Lab errors
  • Error in the reading of imaging studies

Finally, it’s important for families dealing with stroke misdiagnosis to consult a lawyer with Medical Malpractice experience. Expert Florida Medical Malpractice lawyers assist misdiagnosis victims in seeking maximum compensation.

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