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August 26, 2019

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Failure to Diagnose Stroke

Medical malpractice lawsuits come in many forms. Although your situation may seem utterly unique to you, the reality is that your case might be just one of many that occurred under similarly tragic circumstances.

It is especially true if you’ve suffered from a stroke.

Like many other malpractice victims, you might wonder how or if you’ll ever bounce back.

Be sure you understand the following if you or a loved one is struggling to cope after a stroke or receiving a misdiagnosis. This article will address why failure to diagnose stroke is considered a form of malpractice.

Strokes Explained

Strokes are among the most common causes of death in the U.S. According to the Mayo Clinic; these medical emergencies occur when blood vessels in the brain rupture or get severely clotted.

Both outcomes can cause immediate symptoms, including:

  • Confusion, difficulty processing spoken language, or trouble understanding speaking,
  • Balance, mobility, and inner ear problems,
  • Serious headaches for no reason,
  • Weakness, numbness, or paralysis of your face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of your body, and
  • Visual distortions and swallowing difficulty.

Another form of a heart condition called the transient ischemic attack (TIA) occurs when clots get stuck in the arteries that usually send blood to your brain. The lack of oxygen to your brain can result in typical symptoms, such as an inability to speak clearly or muscle weakness.

Unlike strokes, TIAs only last for a few minutes, which doesn’t make them less worthy of prompt medical attention.

Why Is Malpractice Such an Issue for Stroke Sufferers?

Strokes and TIAs can occur in many parts of the brain, and their outcomes vary widely depending on the sufferer’s prior health status. If you have a family history of strokes, heart attacks, or TIAs, you might be more prone to experiencing them.

Strokes and TIAs are survivable, but only with prompt action. For instance, although starting a rehab program, managing your diabetes, controlling your blood pressure, and engaging in routine exercise can help prevent future incidents, these solutions only work with medical supervision.

Time Matters With Strokes and TIAs

After a stroke, it’s vital that doctors rapidly restore your brain’s blood supply. Depending on your condition, they may also have to perform surgeries to remove clots, expand the artery, and repair damaged blood vessels.

The longer you wait to deal with stroke damage, the more likely you are to experience more severe complications. In other words, getting diagnosed as early and correctly as possible is essential.

What Constitutes Malpractice?

Contrary to popular belief, malpractice goes beyond giving patients the wrong medicines. It can also occur when a doctor makes a wrong diagnosis or fails to respond to your symptoms with care that satisfies generally accepted professional standards.

For instance, medical experts note that even short delays between when patients enter the hospital and start receiving stroke-specific treatment can result in irreversible harm to the brain.

The difference between medical malpractice and a wrong diagnosis is also worth noting. Incorrect medical opinions are common, but competent caregivers always follow up by verifying their assumptions.

For instance, your doctor might tell you you suffer from another condition with similar symptoms and then revise their opinion to a TIA diagnosis following further testing.

What’s unacceptable from a professional — and legal — standpoint is when doctors fail to meet the standard of care by:

  • Delaying treatment
  • Failing to provide specialized stroke or TIA treatment
  • Ignoring risk factors, such as a patient’s family history, personal habits, or previous record of circulatory issues

One of the biggest problems with malpractice is that it often results in unnecessary procedures. In addition to the fact that strokes already feature high-risk symptoms, their location inside the brain heightens the risks of mistreatment, such as incorrect surgeries.

Because prompt, proper care is critical to surviving a stroke, misdiagnosis is particularly serious. Unfortunately, the law requires victims and their families to jump through a few hoops to pursue justice.

For instance, plaintiffs must file “Affidavits of Merit” stating that their attorneys reviewed their cases with qualified medical professionals.

Under the state’s statute of limitations for personal injuries, they must also start their lawsuits within two years of discovering that their providers acted negligently.

Victims who wait longer than two years to file lose the right to take legal action.

It’s possible to lead a full, vibrant life after a stroke or TIA, but your odds are far worse when you receive the wrong treatment. If you suspect you were victimized by malpractice, you need to talk to a Chicago medical malpractice attorney soon.

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