When patients present with stroke symptoms, doctors must diagnose and treat their condition as quickly as possible. Strokes are medical emergencies that can result in disabilities and death if not handled with proper care. There is no excuse for doctors allowing a patient to suffer because of delayed diagnosis or treatment.
If you or someone you love suffered a stroke, you may be eligible to file a medical malpractice claim. Our team of skilled New York stroke malpractice lawyers has significant experience recovering compensation for stroke victims, and we can provide reliable legal representation throughout your entire case. Do not hesitate to call Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, at (212) 986-7353 to get a free case evaluation.
A “stroke” occurs when the blood supply to the brain is cut off, stopping it from receiving oxygen. There are two types of strokes a patient can experience: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic strokes account for 87% of all strokes and occur when a blood clot clogs an artery to the brain. Some patients also experience transient ischemic attacks (TIA), which are ischemic strokes that pass after a few minutes. They are still very dangerous and can be a warning sign of future strokes.
In contrast, hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel bursts, causing blood to pool within the brain. Not only will the brain not receive steady oxygen, but pressure can build up and cause further damage. Hemorrhagic strokes are deadly if not treated quickly, but because they only account for 13% of all strokes, doctors can become lax about diagnosing them.
A stroke can lead to several serious injuries depending on the area of the brain that is affected, including:
- Neurological dysfunctions
- Emotional issues
- Memory problems
- Loss of cognitive functions
- Vision loss
- Speaking issues
- Mobility issues
- Lack of sensation or feeling in limbs
Strokes are ticking time bombs where every second counts. Doctors and nurses should act fast to diagnose and treat this condition, but everyone should be given information on the symptoms. Certain medical conditions can increase the likelihood of a stroke, such as obesity, diabetes, pregnancy, smoking, lack of physical activity, aneurysm, migraines, and sickle cell disease. Women also have a higher risk of suffering strokes, and they are more common for those of Hispanic or African descent.
For both men and women, the key symptoms of a stroke are:
- Sudden numbness or weakness, even on just one side of the body
- Difficulty speaking
- Vision problems in one or both eyes
- Loss of coordination
- Balancing issues
- Difficulty walking
- Severe headaches with no clear causes
There are some differences between how men and women experience strokes. Women may experience non-specific symptoms, meaning the symptoms may seem unrelated, but they can help during a diagnosis. In addition to the other symptoms, women may experience:
- Chest pain
- Fatigue or shortness of breath
- A spiked heartrate
An important tool for spotting strokes is the anagram FAST:
- Face: When you smile, does one side of your face droop?
- Arms: If you raise both arms up, does one arm drift downward?
- Speech: When you speak, are your words slurred or incomprehensible?
- Time: Time is of the essence, so you should call 911 to see a doctor immediately if you have any of the above symptoms. Do not try to drive on your own.
When a patient presents with these symptoms, hospital staff should act fast. Doctors should review the patient’s medical history and play close attention to related conditions, such as diabetes, migraines, and obesity. They should also schedule several tests, including MRIs and CT-scans, to identity the type of stroke the patient is experiencing and where it is in the brain.
With ischemic strokes, doctors can break up the blood clot with medication if it has been three hours since the first symptom. For hemorrhagic strokes, doctors may perform endovascular surgery to repair the damaged blood vessel, which is less invasive than other surgeries. However, more invasive approaches may be necessary.
Post-stroke treatment may vary depending on how badly the brain was damaged. Strokes become more common after the first one, and patients may need to change their lifestyles to treat any related conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes. If the damage was serious, patients may need to work with a neurologist or occupational therapist to readjust to their daily life and learn new skills.
When you come to a doctor with symptoms – any symptoms -- he first has to rule out any life-threatening conditions. Hospital staff should pay attention to the immediate signs of a stroke and act diligently. Misreading a hemorrhagic stroke as an ischemic stroke can be extremely dangerous, putting the patient at risk of dying or suffering due to delayed treatment.
Doctors should follow the standard of care when reviewing a patient’s medical history and order every test to provide the best possible treatment. When they fail to do so, it puts patients at risk of suffering from serious disabilities, long-term brain damage, and even dying.
In our experience, a doctor can commit malpractice when treating a stroke victim by:
- Ignoring patient symptoms and medical history
- Failing to order the proper tests
- Misdiagnosing the stroke as another condition
- Delaying treatment
- Providing the wrong treatment
If anything like this happened to you or a loved one, talk to us.
If you or someone you love suffered a serious injury due to a stroke, you may have a case of medical malpractice. At Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, our dedicated New York medical malpractice lawyers can look over your case in a free consultation and explain your options. If a doctor or other medical professional broke the standard of care, we can use all of our knowledge and resources to advocate for full compensation on your behalf. We have over 50 years of experience. We have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for stroke victims and can provide you the same expertise. Call us today at (212) 986-7353 to learn how we can represent you.
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