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Misdiagnosis and Mismanagement of Strokes Can Lead to Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

September 13, 2019 in

Unfortunately, instances can occur in which medical professionals fail to properly diagnose a stroke in a patient, which can result in devastating consequences. In events like these, the affected patient or their loved ones may be entitled to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the medical professional or institution responsible for the negligence. Here, the medical malpractice attorneys at Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo P.C. detail the serious issue of stroke mismanagement and failure to properly diagnose strokes by medical professionals as well as what you can do if you or a loved one is a victim of this type of negligence.

Stroke Patients Should be Immediately Treated When Initial Symptoms Appear

A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted and can range from minor to catastrophic depending on the individual case. Common symptoms of stroke include numbness or tingling on only one side of the body, trouble speaking, vision and balance problems, confusion and severe headaches. A doctor treating a stroke patient typically orders a CT scan or MRI to deduce whether or not a stroke occurred in the patient as well as which type of stroke it is. 

There are two main types of strokes: ischemic strokes and hemorrhagic strokes. Ischemic strokes, or clot strokes, have a short three-to-four-hour window beginning at the time the patient first experiences signs and symptoms before the results become severe and irreversible. A CT scan should be performed to deduce if there is any bleeding in the brain. A tPA, or tissue plasminogen activator, can be administered for some individuals with clot strokes, and while this drug has a lot of risks associated with it, it can treat serious clot strokes by breaking down blood clots. Hemorrhagic strokes, or bleeding strokes, can cause severe headaches and may be treated surgically if diagnosed immediately. 

Misdiagnosing or Mismanaging Strokes Can Have Dire Consequences

Because there is a short window to treat a stroke patient, every action taken by a medical health professional matters, and there is little room for error. If a patient is experiencing numbness and other symptoms of a stroke, and their doctor fails to implement a proper stroke protocol, resulting in death or serious injury, this negligence could make the patient eligible to file a lawsuit for medical malpractice. In addition, scenarios that could lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit include waiting past the critical three-hour window to treat a stroke patient, neglecting to immediately request a CT scan for a stroke patient or failing to properly recognize the severity of the situation as a whole.

Illnesses or conditions that may present as a stroke include brain tumors, seizures and hypoglycemia. While these conditions present symptoms that may resemble stroke symptoms, it is imperative for a doctor to be able to properly differentiate a stroke from these other conditions. If a doctor fails to properly diagnose a stroke patient, and this misjudgement leads to permanent brain damage or even death, the victim or the victim’s family may be entitled to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

SPBMC Recovered a Settlement of $4.85 Million for a Victim of Stroke Misdiagnosis

SPBMC medical malpractice attorney Albert B. Aquila has represented clients who suffered a stroke and were the victims of medical malpractice at the hands of their doctors. One such client experienced numbness on one side and presented to a hospital. When his symptoms initially resolved, the health professionals treating him felt they were due to high blood pressure and admitted him for observation. While in the hospital his symptoms appeared a second time, he was re-evaluated. The symptoms  quickly resolved and were attributed to his high blood pressure. Ultimately, his symptoms presented a third time and his physicians assumed they were due to elevated blood pressure. No immediate evaluation was performed. More than four hours passed before a neurologist was called to see the patient. The neurologist determined the patient had suffered a stroke, but no treatment was available due to the lapse of time from the onset of symptoms. With the help of Mr. Aquila, the patient filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital. The hospital settled with the plaintiff, and the plaintiff was awarded $4.85 million.

Contact the Medical Malpractice Attorneys at Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo Today

Misdiagnosing a stroke, delaying treatment past the critical three-hour window, failing to order a CT scan and other significant medical errors can lead to permanent brain damage or death in a stroke patient. If you or a loved one was misdiagnosed when suffering from a stroke and would like to speak to a medical malpractice attorney about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, contact Sullivan Block McGrath & Cannavo today for a free consultation.