Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability and the second leading cause of death in the United States.
According to the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association:
- There are approximately 800,000 new strokes each year;
- There are approximately 100,000 deaths each year caused by strokes;
- By the year 2030, one in every twenty-five adults will suffer a stroke, which translates into 3.4 million individuals.
What is a stroke?
A stroke prevents sufficient blood flow to an area of the brain, causing damage to brain tissue.
The brain requires oxygen to survive. Oxygen is supplied to the brain through blood vessels which allow the oxygen-enriched blow to flow and circulate. When there is a blockage in the blood flow, a clot develops preventing the delivery of oxygen. This blockage and disruption in the delivery of oxygen causes rapid death of brain tissue causing a stroke.
Time is Brain—What does this mean?
The saying is an important reminder of the critical nature of rapid treatment for stroke. When a person experiences a stroke, blood flow to the brain is interrupted, which can cause brain cells to start dying within minutes. The longer it takes for the person to receive medical attention, the greater the damage to the brain becomes, and the worse the long-term outcomes are likely to be.
What is a stroke malpractice case?
Stroke malpractice claims fall into two major categories:
Failure to diagnose and failure to treat.
What is failure to diagnose a stroke?
Failure to diagnose can result from an inadequate history, failing to heed the information obtained, failing to perform an adequate and thorough exam, or failing to heed the findings of a neurological examination.
What is failure to treat a stroke?
Failing to treat can result from failing to timely administer medication to dissolve a blot clot or failing to perform emergency surgery to remove the blood clot.
What should a doctor, urgent care center, and hospital emergency department do to prevent long-term brain damage from a stroke?
- Every second counts regarding stroke treatment, and the faster a person can receive medical care, the more likely they are to have a positive outcome.
- Take a proper history and perform a thorough neurological examination in the emergency department. Delays in diagnosis can result in tragic consequences.
- CT scans must be taken without delay.
- Medication and surgery to prevent the stroke from progressing and breaking apart the clot must be instituted without delay.
What are the signs and symptoms of a stroke?
- Sudden numbness, tingling, weakness, or loss of movement of face, arm, or leg
- Sudden vision changes
- Sudden speech difficulty
- Sudden confusion or trouble understanding simple sentences
- Sudden dizziness or problems walking or balance
- Sudden or severe headache
The acronym FAST (Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties and Time to call 911) has been used by the National Stroke Association, American Heart Association and others to educate the public about symptoms of a stroke to aid in rapid recognition and timely intervention.
Seeking and receiving immediate and proper medical attention when a stroke is suspected can reduce damage to the brain and improve the chances for a good recovery.
If you, a family member, or a loved one has suffered a stroke and you believe a doctor, urgent care center, or hospital has been negligent in their diagnosis or treatment, our experience stroke malpractice attorneys can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve. Please refer to our stroke malpractice page, or contact us for more information on how we can assist.