What Can Happen When a Stroke Is Misdiagnosed?

Published on Oct 23, 2020 at 12:51 pm in Medical Malpractice.

Woman at computer holding her head

Strokes are serious events that happen in the arteries of the brain and are caused by a blockage of blood flow or rupture of a vessel. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 87 percent of strokes are ischemic strokes, or caused by a blood clot.

When the blood flow to or within the brain is restricted, brain cells die. When brain cells die, you can lose your memory, certain motor functions, or worse. This is why it’s imperative for strokes to be recognized and diagnosed as soon as possible—because taking too long and misdiagnosing could be the difference between life and death.

When you’ve been misdiagnosed by a medical professional and it ends up causing you further damage, you could be eligible to file a medical malpractice claim. At Prince Law Firm, our lawyers understand how hard it can be to deal with the effects of a misdiagnosis. That’s why we’re here to help you with your claim and ensure that you get justice for your doctor’s negligence.

The Dangers of Stroke Misdiagnosis

Quick response and diagnosis are the most important factors in giving stroke victims the best chance at recovery and survival. According to the CDC, when a person who is having or has just had a stroke gets to the emergency room within three hours, they typically have less disability three months after the cerebrovascular event than a patient who does not get immediate care.

Even if a person recognizes the symptoms of a stroke and rushes to the emergency room, they still might get misdiagnosed when they get to the hospital. A study published by the American Academy of Neurology reports that nearly 10 percent of strokes are misdiagnosed in emergency rooms, which could equal nearly 100,000 strokes. This prolonged time before diagnosis could result in serious side effects for the stroke victim.

When a stroke victim is experiencing milder symptoms, like a headache, a medical professional might not immediately assume they are having a stroke. Since many patients in the emergency room come in with complaints of symptoms like headaches, nausea, and dizziness, these symptoms can be overlooked as signs of a stroke and could be written off as another, less-serious condition.

The longer a patient goes without diagnosis for a stroke, the longer they are left without proper treatment. This could mean they’re going hours without blood or oxygen flow to a small or large section of their brain, and increase their chances of suffering from a permanent disability or death.

How to Spot the Signs of a Stroke

The best way to know when to seek immediate treatment for a stroke is by knowing how to spot the warning signs of a stroke. Only 38 percent of people recognize the signs of a stroke and when to call 911, so it’s important to read these signs so that you can act quickly if you or a loved one suffers from a stroke.

The biggest and most apparent signs of a stroke can be remembered by the acronym FAST. The American Stroke Association lists FAST as:

  • Face Drooping
  • Arm Weakness
  • Speech slurred
  • Time to call 911

While these are the major signs of a stroke, there are other signs that might be harder to spot, but still could mean that you or a loved one are suffering from a cerebrovascular event. These other minor symptoms are all sudden and could be:

  • Numbness
  • Confusion
  • Trouble seeing
  • Trouble walking
  • Severe headache

If you or a loved one is experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to act quickly and call 911 or rush them to the emergency room. As stated above, acting quickly is the best thing you can do to help someone suffering from a stroke get the treatment they need and give them the best chance at recovering.

Prince Law Firm Will Fight for Your Rights

When you go to see a doctor, you’re already in a vulnerable state—you don’t feel well, and you need their help. When your doctor or other medical professional doesn’t help you in the way that they should have, or they are negligent in your care and end up causing you more harm, then you could file a medical malpractice claim against the person or hospital who hurt you.

Going up against a medical professional or hospital could seem intimidating, which is why Prince Law Firm is here to represent you. We understand how a legal claim can seem like a large undertaking, especially when you’re already hurting from injuries that they caused you. Our lawyers will fight for your rights and ensure that this mistake never happens to another patient. Reach out to us today so we can get started on your claim.



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