There are different causes of a stroke, but the result is the same: The brain’s blood and oxygen supply is partially or totally cut off for at least some time. Brain damage is inevitable. It’s the fifth leading cause of death in this country — but quick treatment can often lessen the brain damage that a victim suffers.
Unfortunately, not all emergency rooms are well-staffed, and not all doctors are properly trained. They may overlook the warning signs of a stroke, including:
- Severe headache that has no apparent cause
- Difficulty walking, including dizziness and trouble keeping balance
- Problems seeing, whether in one eye or both
- Confusion, including trouble communicating
- Sudden weakness or numbness, especially on one side of the body
A nurse or physician who is exhausted at the end of a long shift or rushing from one patient to the next can fail victims in several ways, by:
- Failing to take a proper medical history from the patient or caregivers
- Not performing a preliminary neurological exam right away
- Failing to obtain (or even order) the necessary diagnostic studies to accurately rule out a stroke
- Not providing the patient with blood-thinners (like aspirin) or anticoagulants
- Misdiagnosing the victim’s stroke as a panic attack, tension headache or some other condition
- Allowing treatment to be unnecessarily delayed for any other reason
The long-term consequences of a stroke can be life-altering. The victim may need physical, occupational and speech therapy. Long-term nursing care may also be necessary. The longer that a stroke is left untreated, the worse the damage may be.
If your loved one suffered a stroke and the damage was compounded by a hospital’s actions or inaction, find out more about your legal rights and options for compensation.