Boston Medical Malpractice Attorneys

The Dangers of Stroke Misdiagnosis

Stroke is a leading cause of death in the United States, making up 1 out of every 6 deaths due to cardiovascular disease. Over 795,000 people have a stroke in the U.S. each year and for 610,000 of those stroke victims, it was a sudden, unexpected, first-time stroke. Unfortunately, thousands of these stroke victims die or suffer permanent disabilities. In some cases, the damage would not have occurred or been as extensive had the stroke been properly diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. Quick and adequate medical treatment to restore blood flow to the brain greatly minimizes the amount of damage to delicate brain tissue. Sadly, around 10% of strokes are missed during the initial diagnosis or first medical assessment.

A stroke misdiagnosis often results in catastrophic effects on the patient and significant hardships for their family. It’s especially devastating when the victim’s family knows that the damage their loved one suffered could have been minimized had the stroke been properly diagnosed and promptly treated.

If you or a loved one suffered injuries due to a stroke that medical professionals failed to accurately diagnose and quickly treat, you could gain significant financial compensation if the treating doctor did not follow proper protocol or failed to order/read proper diagnostic tests. Speaking with a specialized medical misdiagnosis lawyer in Boston can help you file a claim to seek compensation.

What Is a Stroke?

Blood vessels carry critical oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Strokes happen when there’s an interruption to that blood flow due to a blood clot blockage (ischemic stroke) or burst blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke). Brain cells quickly begin to die when the brain doesn’t receive the oxygen and nutrients it needs. Because the brain controls critical functions throughout every body system, whatever part of the brain becomes damaged from a stroke causes a lack of function in the part of the body it controls. Strokes can cause significant impairment, disability, and death if not quickly treated. Common signs of a stroke include:

  • Sudden weakness, numbness, and drooping on one side of the face
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Sudden difficulty understanding language
  • Blurred vision, difficulty seeing out of one eye, or sudden blindness in one or both eyes
  • Sudden problems with balance, coordination, and walking
  • Severe headache with sudden onset

Because other illnesses such as hypoglycemia, migraines, and seizures sometimes present with symptoms similar to those of a stroke, a doctor may misdiagnose a stroke or fail to order the proper tests that would identify a stroke and determine the type of stroke the patient has suffered.

How Do I Know If Stroke Misdiagnosis Occurred?

Recovery from a stroke depends on how quickly and accurately medical professionals diagnosed it. Imaging tests like CT scans and MRIs can quickly identify a stroke, its type, seriousness, and the part of the brain affected so doctors can begin treatment. If you or a loved one experienced stroke-like symptoms and the treating doctor did not order the proper tests, misdiagnosed the stroke as another illness, or allowed a significant amount of time to pass before properly diagnosing and treating the stroke, negligence may have taken place. Because strokes are most common in people over age 55 and happen more frequently to men than women, stroke misdiagnosis occurs more frequently in younger individuals and women.

Doctors and other medical professionals are supposed to follow strict protocols that include ruling out a stroke before testing for other illnesses. When a doctor breaches the duty of care we rightly expect from our medical providers and misses a stroke diagnosis, it constitutes medical malpractice.

If you or a loved one had a stroke and experienced a significant delay in diagnosis and treatment by a medical professional or care team in Massachusetts, a Boston medical malpractice attorney may be able to help you gain the compensation you need in order to maximize recovery both physically and financially. Contact a Boston medical misdiagnosis lawyer at Barry D. Lang, M.D. & Associates to get started filing a claim to seek the compensation you deserve.