Posted on 09/23/2021

Can You File A Lawsuit For Stroke Misdiagnosis?

Can You File A Lawsuit For Stroke Misdiagnosis?

Failure to recognize the symptoms of a stroke can cause many long-term negative effects, including death, in a patient.

Unfortunately, it’s estimated that between 15,000 to 165,000 people having strokes are misdiagnosed each year. In many of these instances, the doctors failed to recognize the symptoms of a stroke, brushing the symptoms off as just a headache or dizziness.

Stroke misdiagnosis is disproportionately higher for women, minorities, and especially younger people.

If you have recently experienced injuries or suffering caused by a delayed stroke diagnosis and are considering a stroke lawsuit, you may be eligible for a delayed diagnosis malpractice case.

Continue reading to learn more about strokes, why they’re commonly misdiagnosed, who is commonly misdiagnosed, and learn how to get the compensation you or your loved one deserves.

What is a Stroke?

A stroke is a life-threatening medical emergency that occurs when blood flow in the brain is interrupted or blocked.

Within minutes, brain cells die as they are no longer receiving oxygen or nutrients due to the blockage.

Strokes can either be hemorrhagic, caused by a ruptured brain vessel bleeding in the brain, or ischemic, which occurs when a blood clot blocks blood flow in the brain.

The majority of strokes are ischemic strokes, with 87% of cases caused by blood clots in the brain. 

A transient ischemic attack (TIA), or a “mini-stroke,” occurs when the brain’s blood supply is temporarily blocked, usually only for a few minutes. While the symptoms usually dissipate within 24 hours, having an ischemic attack is a major warning sign of a future and more serious stroke.

Why Strokes are Misdiagnosed

Strokes are misdiagnosed more likely in patients younger than 45, female, African American, and Hispanic. 

Because the majority of strokes happen to people 65 and older, it’s common for doctors to miss the warning signs in people younger than 45. A study in the medical journal Diagnosis shows that people younger than 45 are seven times more likely to be misdiagnosed after experiencing a stroke.

People experiencing a stroke typically experience sudden symptoms, such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Tingling, numbness, or paralysis, particularly on one side of the body
  • Confusing
  • Difficulty walking
  • Face drooping
  • Blurred vision
  • Trouble speaking and communicating

People who are misdiagnosed are often told by their doctors that they were only experiencing a migraine, an ear infection, or vertigo, and are typically sent home without proper treatment.

Ischemic strokes can be successfully diagnosed using an MRI, however, many females and younger patients’ symptoms are more likely to be dismissed by doctors, leading to negative long-lasting effects.

What Are the Long-Lasting Effects of a Stroke?

Approximately 1.9 million neurons, or brain cells, die each minute that the brain’s blood supply is blocked. With every passing minute during a stroke, long-term negative effects compound to create permanent brain damage in the patient.

When a blood clot occurs, competent doctors need to act quickly to administer a blood clot-busting drug called tPA. Permamnent brain damage will occure if tPa isn’t administered within a few houres of the stroke.

This brain damage can cause long-lasting effects, such as:

  • Trouble speaking and communicating
  • Paralysis, usually on one side of the body
  • Problems related to math, reading, and writing
  • Difficulty walking
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Memory loss
  • Vision loss
  • Developing depression
  • Personality changes

A stroke can occur on either side of the brain, which can cause different long-term effects. 

A stroke occurring in the left side of the brain will cause:

  • Paralysis in the right side of the body
  • Difficulty with speech and language
  • Vision loss in the right eye
  • Memory loss

A stroke occurring in the right side of the brain will cause:

  • Paralysis in the left side of the body
  • Vision loss in left eye
  • Difficulty recognizing objects
  • Inability to recognize body parts

How to Prevent a Stroke

There are many risk factors that cause a stroke, many of which can be controlled by the individual.

People who smoke tobacco and have high blood pressure are the most likely to experience a stroke.

Other major risk factors include:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Viral infections, such as COVID, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Taking blood-thinners
  • Drinking excessive alcohol
  • Obesity
  • Using illicit drugs such as cocaine

When it comes to gender, men are more likely to experience strokes at a younger age, however, as age increases, women are more likely to have a stroke.

African Americans and Hispanic people are more likely to develop strokes, with studies showing that African Americans are more than 4 times more likely to die from a stroke than White adults. 

Because high blood pressure is the main cause of strokes, people looking to minimize their possibility of having a stroke should:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly and keep an active lifestyle
  • Quit smoking tobacco
  • Take blood pressure medicine
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Check blood pressure regularly
  • Lower sodium in their diet
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Manage stress levels

Schedule Your No-Cost Medical Malpractice Consultation

If you or a loved one have recently received a delayed diagnosis for a stroke and are considering a medical malpractice stroke lawsuit, contact the Medical Malpractice team at Grover Lewis Johnson.

You may have a case if your stroke misdiagnosis was delayed because of failure to meet the standards of care or through doctor negligence, particularly if the improper treatment caused permanent injury or death.

At Grover Lewis Johnson, we carefully select our cases to try and reach a practical resolution early on through settlement. However, if your case is brought to trial, we will use our expertise and reputation to help you win. We don’t get paid until we win your case. 

Our team has over 25 years of experience handling medical malpractice lawsuits, including stroke lawsuits, with a proven track record of successful trials. 

Schedule your no-cost consultation today and get the compensation you deserve.

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