Failure to Diagnose Stroke - Treatment for Ischemic Stroke
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An ischemic stroke or white stroke occurs when an artery that supplies blood and oxygen to the brain becomes blocked. About 80% of strokes are of this type. Blood clots are the most common cause of artery blockage that leads to an ischemic stroke. Traditional symptoms of an ischemic stroke include sudden problems such as:
- Numbness or weakness especially on one side of the body, face, arm or leg
- Confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech
- Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Difficulty in walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
Time = Brain
When someone is having a stroke, every second counts. Time is equal to brain, which means that the longer the stroke progresses without treatment the greater the damage can be. The best treatment for a stroke is prevention. The next best treatment is dealing with the underlying cause. When a patient is having a stroke, it is because oxygen-carrying blood is blocked from the brain by clot, thrombus or blood vessel dissection. Life-saving drugs such as TPA (tissue plasminogen activator) have been developed which can be administered if a patient presents within three hours of the onset of stroke symptoms. TPA can prevent many of the most harmful effects of strokes, only if there is a blood clot in the brain but no bleeding. TPA dissolves the blood clot, opening up the artery for blood to flow again. If TPA is used after the three-hour mark, however, it can actually be more harmful to the patient. If TPA is used with a hemorrhagic stroke (a stroke that occurs with bleeding in the brain), the drug will actually cause more bleeding making the stroke worse. Many times misuse of TPA results in the death or catastrophic injuries for the patient.
Mistakes are made when emergency room doctors and staff do not take careful histories, do not perform careful physical examinations or do not order proper tests. Even if a patient presents more than three hours from the onset of their symptoms, Stroke Centers can perform brain-saving procedures to restore blood flow with success. The effects of ischemic strokes can be reversed with treatment. The treatments, however, must be administered within the first few hours of a stroke. If someone has an ischemic stoke and doctors fail to diagnose the stroke in time to administer the treatment, there may be a claim for failure to diagnose malpractice.
The precursor to stroke can be a TIA (transient ischemic attack). Here symptoms of stroke may come and go completely away again, giving doctors time to act promptly to prevent a completed stroke. Thus proper training and supervision of all emergency room staff is critical for hospitals.
If you have had a stroke or an ischemic attack (TIA) and were not timely or properly treated by your medical professional or hospital, you may have a valid legal claim against the parties or hospitals that treated you. At Biancheria & Maliver, our lawyers' experience with the investigation and proof of both liability and damages in cases of stroke misdiagnosis can help maximize your recovery in a medical malpractice lawsuit. For a free assessment and evaluation of your claim, contact the Pittsburgh medical malpractice attorneys at Biancheria & Maliver. Your case will always be personally reviewed by Deborah Maliver who is both an attorney and a board certified physician.