It is critical that a physician immediately diagnose the symptoms and cause of the stroke. Significant errors and serious complications can occur when a doctor does not recognize the warning signs of a stroke and does not immediately order a CAT scan to determine whether it is due to a clot or a hemorrhage. Failure to quickly diagnose a stroke and pinpoint its source can lead to major treatment errors that may constitute medical malpractice.
If you think that you or a family member has been a victim of malpractice related to a stroke, Duffy & Duffy can help.
What is a Stroke?
A stroke occurs when there is an interruption of blood to the brain. This interruption of blood (and therefore oxygen) to the brain causes brain tissue to die, leaving the part of the brain that has been deprived of blood to be unable to function. The results of a stroke include partial paralysis, memory loss and/or dementia.
Strokes can be caused by either a blood clot plugging a blood vessel in the brain, or by bleeding in the brain. Although the symptoms of a stroke may be the same in either case, the treatment for strokes varies greatly depending on the source of the blood flow interruption. Therefore, in addition to quickly diagnosing an ongoing or impending stroke, physicians need to make timely diagnoses of the cause of the stroke — initiating the right tests and proper treatments.
What are the Symptoms of a Stroke?
The symptoms of a stroke vary depending on the extent of damage to the brain and which part of the brain is affected, but typically include severe headache, numbness in the face or extremities, slurring or loss of speech, fainting, rapid heartbeat or hypertension, loss of balance, paralysis on one side, seizures and/or nausea.
In addition, a patient may experience a warning sign called a transient ischemic attack (or TIA) before an actual stroke. These TIAs, or mini-strokes are caused by blood supply to the brain being cut off for a short time, without causing any permanent damage. It is the health care professional’s job to recognize the symptoms of a TIA and develop a treatment plan to try to prevent a full-scale stroke.