You Can Seek Compensation After A Stroke Misdiagnosis
Strokes are all too common medical events, yet doctors don’t always diagnose them right away. If you go to the emergency room with classic signs of a stroke, you’ll likely be diagnosed and treated right away. But not all strokes present themselves clearly, and too many doctors miss these trickier cases.
At Menzer Law Firm, PLLC, we will carefully review your medical records and circumstances. We’ll advise you on the strength of your medical malpractice claim. If your health care provider was negligent, we’re here to advocate for you and bring a Washington medical malpractice claim.
What Is A Stroke?
A stroke happens when a blood vessel carrying oxygen to the brain ruptures or is blocked by a clot. A part of the brain doesn’t receive the oxygen it needs, and, as a result, brain cells die. Strokes can be fatal and are the fifth most common cause of death in the U.S. as well as a leading cause of disability.
There are different types of strokes. When a clot blocks the flow of blood to the brain, it’s known as an ischemic stroke. These are the most common types of strokes. Some people experience temporary clots that cause mini-strokes. This is known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA).
When a blood vessel ruptures or leaks, it’s a hemorrhagic stroke. These can be caused by high blood pressure, overtreatment of blood thinners, aneurysms, trauma, protein deposits that weaken blood vessel walls and ischemic strokes.
Stroke Misdiagnosis Is Too Common
A study published in 2017 found that about 9% of patients who go to ERs with strokes, TIAs or subarachnoid hemorrhages are misdiagnosed at first. The reasons for misdiagnosis are varied but include patients who have mild, nonspecific or transient symptoms like headaches, nausea and vertigo. It’s also a problem for patients who are younger and, overall, less likely to suffer from a stroke.
The Consequences Of A Stroke
Different areas of the brain control different areas or functions of your body. When a certain blood vessel is damaged, the oxygen doesn’t reach a certain part of your brain. That specific area loses brain cells, which in turn causes disability in the specific part of the body or function that the damaged part of the brain controls.
It’s common for strokes that damage the left side of the brain to cause paralysis on the right side of the body and cause issues with language, behavior and memory loss. Damage to the right side of the brain often leads to paralysis on the left side of the body and can cause issues with vision.
Did A Doctor Misdiagnose Your Stroke?
If you believe you’re having a stroke, it’s important that you go to the ER right away. Your doctor will talk with you about your medical history, lifestyle, symptoms and other factors to rule out other conditions. You should go through a physical exam, a neurological exam and some type of imaging.
Your doctor might order a carotid ultrasound, which shows fatty deposits and the blood flow in your carotid arteries; an echocardiogram, which shows a detailed image of your heart; or possibly a cerebral angiogram, which requires doctors to inject dye into your carotid or vertebral artery to create X-ray images of your arteries.
Whether you went to the ER, an immediate care clinic or a general practitioner, doctors should recognize the signs of a stroke. They should know how to diagnose an ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke as well as how to treat it. But if you later learn that a doctor failed to diagnose your stroke and properly treat it, call our firm as soon as reasonably possible.
Pursuing A Stroke Misdiagnosis Claim
If we find that medical records suggest that the physician should have diagnosed your stroke sooner, we’ll talk with you about moving forward with a claim under Washington’s medical malpractice law.
At Menzer Law, we will thoroughly investigate the situation. We’ll gather evidence that your treating physician deviated from their standard of care and the misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis caused you harm, such as permanent disabilities. We know how to present this evidence persuasively during mediation or litigation.
Our goal will be to win you the maximum amount of fair and reasonable compensation for your injuries. This can occur by way of a negotiated settlement or jury trial. If the defendant and their insurance company are not willing to compensate you fairly, we aren’t afraid to take your case to court.