Misdiagnosis of Stroke

Stroke Misdiagnosis Attorneys

A stroke occurs when the flow of blood to the brain is interrupted or reduced. During a stroke, the brain tissue does not get enough oxygen and nutrients, and brain cells can begin to die within minutes, according to the Mayo Clinic. A stroke is always a serious medical emergency, and victims must seek prompt treatment. Early action on the part of medical providers can prevent or reduce brain damage and other health complications.

Unfortunately, strokes are not always diagnosed correctly or immediately. This is particularly true in emergency rooms, where Neurology Today reports that 9 percent of patients who seek treatment at the ER for a stroke, transient ischemic attack (TIA), or subarachnoid hemorrhage are misdiagnosed. Many of these patients presented with mild or non-specific health issues and were not diagnosed in time to receive the correct treatment.

If an emergency room physician or another healthcare professional failed to properly test for or observe the signs of a stroke, and you or a loved one suffered severe harm as a result, you could be entitled to financial compensation through a medical malpractice claim. The misdiagnosis attorneys at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C., have built a reputation for fighting for the rights of malpractice victims and their families in Chicago and across the state of Illinois. We can help you understand your rights and legal options when you contact us for a free consultation.

How Does Stroke Misdiagnosis Occur?

There are two basic types of strokes. Ischemic strokes are caused by blood clots, and hemorrhagic strokes are caused by bleeding. Not only should doctors work quickly to determine whether the patient is suffering a stroke, but they will need to identify which type of stroke the patient is experiencing. The type of treatment needed will vary depending on which type of stroke the patient is suffering.

Proper and timely treatment can prevent or minimize damage from a stroke. On the other hand, failing to diagnose a stroke can have devastating consequences.

Doctors and healthcare professionals could fail to diagnose a stroke by:

  • Failing to recognize the warning signs, including “mini-strokes,” otherwise known as Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
  • Failing to evaluate the patient’s history
  • Failing to conduct a thorough physical exam
  • Making an improper conclusion based on the patient’s presentation of symptoms, without following established protocols
  • Failing to perform an ultrasound of the carotid arteries
  • Failing to perform an angiogram
  • Failing to administer medication, including blood thinners

What Type of Damages Result?

The consequences of misdiagnosing a stroke can be severe. If the patient does not receive the proper medical treatment right away, the person could suffer long-lasting damage. The nature and severity of the injuries they suffer will largely depend on the area of the brain affected. Depending on which region of the brain is impacted by the stroke, the effects can be very different, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine:

Cerebellum – A stroke that occurs in the top and front portions of the brain could result in the following functions being affected:

  • Movement and feeling
  • Language and speech
  • Cognitive ability
  • Perception of surroundings
  • Eating and swallowing
  • Bladder and bowel control
  • Emotions and sexual activity

Right or Left Cerebrum – A stroke that occurs on the right or left hemisphere of the brain could result in the following functions being impaired:

  • Weakness, paralysis, or sensory impairment on the affected side of the body
  • Speech and language (aphasia) issues
  • Visual problems
  • Impaired math and reasoning skills
  • Impaired ability to read, write, and retain new information
  • Memory issues
  • Behavioral issues

Brain Stem – A stroke that occurs in the brain stem could cause:

  • Paralysis
  • Weakness
  • Breathing and heart function problems
  • Loss of vision
  • Body temperature control issues
  • Problems speaking, chewing, or swallowing
  • Death

Financial Compensation for Victims of Stroke Misdiagnosis

If a medical professional failed to diagnose your stroke in a timely manner, you could be eligible to pursue compensation for the harm you’ve suffered, including:

  • Current and future medical bills
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Long-term care expenses
  • Long-term disability
  • Loss of wages (current and future)
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering

If your loved one died due to a stroke that should have been diagnosed and treated, you and other surviving family members could seek compensation through a wrongful death claim. You could be eligible to recover compensation for:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Final medical bills
  • Loss of financial support
  • Loss of emotional support

Do not wait to seek legal advice about a possible medical malpractice claim. At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C., we can evaluate your claim for free and explain your legal options.

Steps for Stroke Misdiagnosis Compensation

To prove that your stroke should have been diagnosed had a medical professional adhered to an acceptable standard of care, you’ll want to have an attorney with specific experience handling medical malpractice claims involving strokes.

Your lawyer will discuss your case with you and then conduct a thorough investigation into the treatment you received. This will include obtaining your medical records and consulting with medical experts about your condition and the doctor’s actions.

When a patient visits a physician for a health problem, the physician will perform a differential diagnosis. This means, the doctor will:

  • Consider all symptoms and make a list of possible conditions that could cause them
  • Conduct a series of tests and rule out conditions that don’t fit the results
  • Make an informed and definitive diagnosis based on the results of the tests

Your attorney will need to prove that the healthcare professional deviated from the acceptable standard of care when conducting this differential diagnosis. Your lawyer will need to demonstrate what a reasonably skilled physician would have done, and will show how your physician failed to meet that same standard of care.

Who Is Responsible for Stroke Misdiagnosis?

We depend on the healthcare professionals we seek treatment from to accurately diagnose our condition and provide prompt treatment. A stroke could be misdiagnosed by a wide variety of professionals, including:

  • Primary care physicians
  • Consulting cardiologists
  • Emergency room doctors
  • Triage or emergency room nurses
  • Paramedics
  • Emergency medical technicians (EMTs)
  • Urgent care center physicians
  • Physician’s assistants (PAs)
  • Medical student interns
  • Lab technicians

How Can a Stroke Misdiagnosis Lawyer Help?

Pursuing a medical malpractice claim for a misdiagnosed stroke can be challenging. Your attorney will need to determine and prove that a mistake was made and that the standard of care was not followed. The physician, the facility they work in, and their insurer will argue that they did everything correctly. With your health and livelihood on the line, be sure to choose a law firm with the extensive experience and resources to handle your case.

Since 1982, the medical malpractice lawyers at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C., have provided high-quality legal representation to people just like you in Chicago and across Illinois. We have a strong track record of securing successful verdicts and settlements for clients who have suffered due to medical malpractice.

Our team is ready to speak with you about your case. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation.