Failure to Address Signs of a Stroke in Medical Malpractice Cases
Almost 800,000 strokes occur each year in the United States alone, with two-thirds being first-time strokes. The most common cause of stroke is an ischemic stroke, which usually happens when a blood clot forms in the body, dislodges, and travels to the brain, blocking the flow of blood and oxygen to vital areas of the brain.
Strokes can cause significant damage to the brain and other body organs, as well as cause people to lose their ability to speak, walk, or care for themselves.
Doctors and medical professionals need to recognize the signs of stroke quickly so that they can treat patients and help protect them from as much damage as possible, especially if they are in the process of operating on said patient.
If you or a loved one has gone through a stroke and experienced harm or long-term consequences because of a doctor’s failure to address or recognize stroke signs, contact the medical malpractice attorneys at Pope & Howard.
How A Doctor Can Fail to Recognize and Treat Stroke Signs
Strokes can happen for a number of reasons and are more likely to happen for those who are in high-risk categories like the elderly, those with high blood pressure, diabetes, family history of cardiovascular disease or stroke, those who are overweight, or those who participate in heavy drinking.
Doctors can overlook the signs and symptoms of strokes if they fail to recognize risk factors or if they don’t assess a patient well. As mentioned above, women are more likely to underplay their symptoms and try to function despite them, so doctors should have a heightened awareness for subtle signs.
Once a doctor recognizes the symptoms of a stroke, he or she must take immediate action, as damage to the brain increases with the passage of time. In many cases, brain-saving medication can be administered, but can only be effective within a short time window, sometimes as little as three hours after symptoms began. So, physicians and other health care providers must act quickly once a patient demonstrates stroke symptoms. Failure to act quickly can result in long-term neurological damage. If a patient was a candidate for brain-saving medication and the physician or other provider unnecessarily delayed the treatment causing extensive brain damage or death, the patient and family may be entitled to compensation.
Signs & Symptoms of a Stroke
Strokes are almost always unexpected, and can occur due to injury, accident, or illness. However, despite being unexpected, they do present recognizable signs and symptoms including:
- Confusion or difficulty understanding others;
- Slurred speech or inability to find correct words;
- Numbness, weakness, or paralysis – especially on one side of the body;
- Blurry, double, or blackened vision;
- Difficulty walking or lack of coordination;
- Severe headaches;
- General fatigue;
With so many strokes across the nation, it’s important to recognize the signs of stroke, both for yourself and your loved ones.
Stroke signs and symptoms are more subtle in women than in men, and, because of which, may be overlooked by both patients and physicians. A helpful acronym for remembering and recognizing stroke symptoms is B.E.F.A.S.T.
- Face drooping.
- Arm numbness or weakness.
- Speech slurring or difficulty.
- Time to call 911/emergency services.
Contact the Leading Medical Malpractice Law Firm in Atlanta, GA
If you or a loved one experienced pain, suffering, or long-term damages because a doctor failed to diagnose and treat stroke symptoms, the medical malpractice attorneys at Pope & Howard can help you build a case to seek compensation. Call us today to discuss your situation.