Chicago Stroke Misdiagnosis Lawyer
Over 15 million people worldwide suffer from strokes. Ischemic or hemorrhagic strokes can do serious harm.
A stroke (also called a cerebrovascular accident or CVA) is a severe condition that causes brain cells to deteriorate due to a lack of oxygen and blood flow. The inefficient blood flow to the brain can incite other neurological deficits that can impact the stroke patient for life.
Should the brain damage or blood clot be a result of the preventable carelessness of medical professionals, the personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Attorneys LLC can fight for your compensatory damages.
Contact our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation to determine your legal options.
Studies show that heart disease and strokes are the world-leading causes of disability and, along with other illnesses, are responsible for almost 100 million healthy life years lost globally every year.
According to the American Heart Association, strokes claim 150,000 lives every year in the United States and are the nation’s third leading cause of death.
What Is an Ischemic Stroke?
When an ischemic stroke occurs, blood supply is cut off to a portion of the brain because a blood clot is blocking the passageway. The clot causes damage to the brain tissue that communicates with other brain cells in charge of dictating motor skills, speech, and memory.
Ischemic strokes are a result of blood clots or atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is an illness that forces the arteries to narrow, which causes blockage of the brain, resulting in subsequent damage. Ischemic strokes account for about 87% of all strokes suffered.
Stroke-induced damage to the brain is permanent, making it essential to recognize symptoms quickly. The correct diagnosis could be the difference between life and death.
What Causes Strokes?
A stroke can occur in people of any age. However, older people have a higher risk of stroke. Risk factors, including high blood pressure, put extra strain on the internal carotid arteries (the main blood vessel in the brain) and can cause them to rupture and bleed. This internal bleeding can lead to an intense headache and ultimately a stroke.
Other risk factors consist of:
- Family history of strokes, heart disease, or high blood pressure
- History of drug abuse
- Excessive consumption of energy drinks
Missed and Delayed Stroke Diagnosis
A delayed or missed diagnosis is an instance of a medical professional committing an act of medical malpractice, neglecting to properly diagnose a patient.
Patients can also be misdiagnosed with conditions they don’t have or suffer a progressing illness that reaches an incurable stage because of a delayed diagnosis. In some illnesses, any delay in making a proper diagnosis can have a devastating impact on the patient.
Strokes are commonly misdiagnosed ailments. Strokes are time-sensitive conditions that, if left unidentified, can be fatal.
Studies show that an estimated 40,000 - 80,000 yearly deaths result from a delay in a patient’s diagnosis in the United States. At least 28% of autopsies reviewed involved at least one misdiagnosis or error in the emergency medical services.
Patient data revealed a pattern of delayed diagnoses in about 12% of stroke patients. Studies show that one in 10 stroke victims visited the hospital less than a month before they experienced a stroke.
The untimeliness in stroke diagnoses is shown to have adverse effects on the severity of the brain damage.
How Delayed Diagnosis Affects Patients
If caught early enough, a stroke can be treatable. A lag in diagnosis is a type of medical negligence that can lead to long-lasting effects like muscle spasticity, paralysis, or permanent difficulty with speech or mobility.
Ischemic Stroke Symptoms
Ischemic strokes often occur as an acute (critical) event that comes on immediately. Medical intervention is vital to survival.
Stroke signs include a sudden intense headache with an unknown cause, a loss of motor skills, chest pain, or difficulty breathing.
A hemorrhagic stroke is a type of stroke that is caused by a bleeding blood vessel in brain tissue. This can be due to aneurysms, high blood pressure, arteriovenous malformations, or other causes.
Warning signs of hemorrhagic strokes can include a sudden severe headache, vomiting, seizures, and confusion. Medical intervention is vital to survival.
Treating hemorrhagic strokes includes stopping the bleed, controlling the blood pressure, and managing any seizures. Often, surgery is required to remove the source of the bleed. Rehabilitation is an important part of recovery.
Embolic and Venous Stroke
An embolic stroke and venous strokes are also ischemic. An embolic stroke is caused by a blood clot or other debris that travels from another part of the body and becomes lodged in an artery supplying blood to the brain.
A venous stroke is caused by a blood clot or other debris that travels from another part of the body and becomes lodged in a vein draining blood from the brain.
Transient Ischemic Attack
A transient ischemic attack (or TIA) is a crucial warning sign that a pending stroke could occur soon. Their symptoms are similar to those of a stroke. They cause a temporary blocking of blood flowing to the brain.
They are considered “mini-strokes” that only last 10-20 minutes but can still cause serious injury to the victim’s brain. The rate of misdiagnoses of transient ischemic attacks is around 60%. TIAs must be appropriately identified and medically treated quickly to avoid permanent damage.
People experiencing transient ischemic attacks might have facial weakness or paralysis, blindness, slurred speech, extreme headache, and the inability to understand others. If you or a loved one encounters these symptoms, call 911 immediately.
The ways to identify when a stroke occurs include:
- Memory loss
- Vision problems
- Trouble speaking
- Inability to read or write
- Depression or anxiety
- Sudden behavioral changes
- Brief loss of consciousness
- Sudden confusion
When any of these listed symptoms occur, be sure to note the time of the onset of symptoms and quickly get the stroke victim to a professional to determine the source of this medical emergency.
Loved ones should seek help from a medical professional if their family member seems to be suffering from any stroke symptoms.
F.A.S.T. - Identifying a Stroke Quickly
The American Stroke Association recommends identifying a stroke quickly by looking for the following signs:
- Sudden severe headache
- Loss of motor skills
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
Remember F.A.S.T. to identify having a stroke, including:
- Face drooping – A side of the face is drooping or feels numb
- Arm weakness – One arm is numb or weak
- Speech problems – The individual has slurred speech slurred
- Time to call 911 – Seeing or experiencing any of these symptoms above requires calling 911 immediately for immediate medical attention.
Quick treatment can save lives and minimize the long-term effects of a stroke.
How Doctors Can Fail in Giving an Accurate Diagnosis
Clinical studies show that negligence claims in the United States found a stroke misdiagnosis as one of the most common, costly, and dangerous medical mistakes medical providers make.
Once a possible stroke patient reports their symptoms to a doctor, it is ultimately the doctor’s responsibility to complete the proper tests and make a prompt diagnosis to determine whether a patient has had a stroke or if one will likely occur.
Running tests and assessing medical records will also aid the staff in choosing the best way to proceed with a diagnosis and treatment. Medical malpractice can happen when a doctor fails in doing follow protocols.
There are many ways a doctor can commit medical malpractice when treating patients at risk of suffering from a stroke, such as:
- Contaminating or testing the wrong samples and reporting medical test results for the wrong patient can result in a stroke misdiagnosis.
- Doctors may improperly read test results or fail to consult neurological specialists during a differential diagnosis that can assist in providing the proper therapy to stroke patients.
- A doctor’s failure to diagnose, performing a less than comprehensive physical examination, improper analysis of appropriate tests and medical records, as well as providing faulty professional advice.
Receiving Help Filing Your Medical Malpractice Claim
Our misdiagnosis attorneys help those who have suffered a delayed diagnosis. Rosenfeld Lawyers, LLC has the resources to represent stroke patients and their loved ones to recoup the monetary damages owed due to doctors and other medical professionals failing to act with reasonable care.
Filing a medical negligence claim can help recover damages to pay for additional medical expenses, wages lost during recovery, out-of-pocket costs, pain and suffering damages, or even punitive damages in cases of gross negligence.
Your family may be able to file a wrongful death claim if the death of a loved one is a result of a doctor’s stroke misdiagnosis.
Medical malpractice cases filed with our attorneys are always handled on a contingency basis–meaning our lawyers will offer a free review of your claim and earn a fee only when you recover the monetary damages you deserve. Call (888) 424-5757, and we can provide a free and confidential consultation and start on your case today.