Have you received medical treatment for a stroke, but something went wrong? Or do you know someone who has suffered a stroke while in hospital care?
A stroke is one of many medical complications that can arise due to improper treatment and medical care. Unfortunately, doctors and other healthcare providers sometimes do not take the appropriate actions when someone is having a stroke and they incur further injury.
If medical professionals administered no or improper treatment to patients experiencing a stroke, they can be held liable in medical malpractice lawsuits.
You can file a medical malpractice claim if you (or your loved one) suffered from a stroke due to a medical professional’s negligence. First, you must be able to recognize the signs of medical malpractice. Learn more about the signs of medical malpractice for a stroke, and what you can do to seek justice and get maximum compensation.
What Is a Stroke?
A stroke is a medical condition where part of your brain doesn’t receive adequate blood. The lack of blood in the brain causes brain tissue to die. Over time, the tissue death in the brain becomes so extensive that larger portions of the brain deteriorate. Eventually, the death of brain tissue causes the loss of vital functions necessary for life – like motor function, consciousness, and possibly even breathing.
A stroke can happen for several reasons. One reason is a blockage in any vein or artery, like with ischemic strokes. Usually, what blocks blood from going to the brain are blood clots. When these clots go unnoticed, they can occlude blood vessels and deprive the brain of oxygen-rich blood.
However, not all strokes occur because of blockages in the arteries and veins leading to the brain. Some strokes happen because there simply isn’t enough blood in the body. This type of stroke is known as a hemorrhagic stroke. Hemorrhagic strokes happen when there’s massive bleeding in any part of the body. With blood being lost, less goes to the brain and vital organs. As a result, a patient goes into shock and experiences a stroke.
Warning Signs of a Stroke
Strokes are not always easy to recognize, especially in recently healthy patients. Nevertheless, there are early signs you are having a stroke. These warning signs should prompt you to seek medical care as soon as possible.
Dizziness is one of the earliest signs of a stroke. It occurs in response to the decreased amount of oxygen reaching the brain. Not all types of dizziness result in a stroke. However, most cases of full-blown strokes begin with a moment of dizziness and nausea.
Loss of Balance or Coordination
Parts of the brain suffering from oxygen deprivation will result in the loss of certain functions. If the area of low oxygen is at the cerebellum, a person will experience losses in coordination and balance. When you notice that you stumble or lose balance more often than usual, you may want to get yourself checked out.
Sudden Numbness on One Side of the Body
The brain controls sensation and movement. Whenever the brain doesn’t get its share of oxygen-rich blood, a person might lose sensation in one half of the body. Also, with the loss of sensation comes the loss of the ability to move extremities.
Sudden Difficulties in Speech
Lastly, another warning sign of a stroke is the loss of speech. The loss of speech is usually the result of damage to the Broca’s area, the part of the brain responsible for speaking. Speech difficulties can show up as either a full loss of the ability to speak or slurring.
When Is a Stroke Considered Medical Malpractice?
Strokes happen in hospitals regularly and occur as a result of heart, blood, and breathing problems. However, not all stroke cases happen because of a disease process. Many instances of stroke are actually medical malpractice cases resulting from negligence on the part of a medical professional.
As medical professionals, doctors are responsible for diagnosing and treating stroke. Any failure to perform these functions constitutes gross negligence on the part of the physician and makes them liable for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
When can you consider stroke the result of medical malpractice? Here are three signs of medical malpractice to look out for when you or your loved one suffers a stroke.
Misdiagnosis or Late Diagnosis of a Stroke
Physicians can be liable for a stroke if they fail to diagnose it correctly. An early misdiagnosis of a stroke can deprive patients of proper treatment. As a result, their condition can deteriorate further, leading to a loss of physical and mental functions. Physicians must exercise due diligence in diagnosing strokes by assessing early signs and ordering the right kinds of tests.
A late diagnosis can be just as life-threatening as a misdiagnosis. In the same way, a late diagnosis robs a patient of proper medical treatment and leaves the patient to descend into a full-blown stroke. When a doctor fails to diagnose a stroke early, the doctor becomes liable for negligence.
Improper Medical Treatment
One of the most common signs of medical malpractice is improper or inadequate treatment — and this is especially true for stroke management. Physicians must manage strokes by performing careful assessments and prescribing the right medications.
When a physician fails to diagnose a stroke’s underlying causes, the physician may prescribe the wrong treatment or medical procedure. This will further endanger the life of a patient and render the physician liable for medical malpractice.
Whenever a medical doctor misdiagnoses a stroke, healthcare professionals may give the wrong medication for its management. With a stroke, or really any medical condition, administering the wrong medication can have disastrous effects.
The wrong medication can result in one of two things. First, it can delay a patient’s recovery. Second, it can threaten patient safety by exacerbating the stroke.
Prescribing the wrong medication is a dangerous medical error that happens for various reasons. Physicians sometimes commit medical errors due to fatigue. An error can also occur because a doctor failed to accurately diagnose the root cause of the stroke.
Prescribing and administering the wrong medication is considered malpractice. For this reason, a doctor and a medical facility may be liable for medical malpractice for a medication error.
Administering the Wrong Medication Dosage or Treating the Wrong Patient
Not all medication errors involve giving the wrong medication to a patient. A doctor or nurse may also be liable for medical negligence by giving the wrong dosage or by giving the drug to the wrong patient. To prevent this from happening, nurses and physicians must double-check anti-stroke medications and the patient’s chart to ensure that they don’t give the wrong dosage or drug. They must also correctly identify patients before administering medications.
The Lack of Informed Consent
Whenever a patient undergoes treatment, there are always risks involved. For this reason, physicians and nurses must provide informed consent to explain any treatment and its risks.
In the case of strokes, getting a patient’s informed consent isn’t always possible. This is because patients may lack the capacity to understand treatment at the moment of a stroke. However, if a patient cannot provide informed consent, a healthcare provider must speak with the patient’s personal representative. Personal representatives may be the patient’s spouse or other family members. Physicians must explain medical procedures to them and have them sign the informed consent on the patient’s behalf.
The lack of informed consent can render doctors and healthcare professionals liable for malpractice. If you were not asked to sign an informed consent and received no explanation for any medical procedure or treatment for your stroke, you can file a medical malpractice claim.
To learn more about your stroke malpractice case, schedule a free consultation with The Pagan Law Firm.
Common Medical Errors Made By a Healthcare Professional Leading to a Stroke
A healthcare provider can commit several errors before a patient develops a stroke. Each error is a threat to patient safety and constitutes negligence on the part of a physician or healthcare provider. Here are some of the most common mistakes doctors make in the management of stroke.
Misdiagnosing the Cause of Stroke
Knowing the cause of a stroke is essential to prescribing the proper treatment and medical procedure. When a physician diagnoses a stroke but fails to identify its true cause, a patient can be at risk for a full-blown episode. Worse yet, improper treatment may exacerbate the stroke and lead to death.
For instance, we know that ischemic strokes are the result of blood clots. Clots are treatable with anticoagulants or blood thinners. These medications can reduce clots.
On the other hand, medications can cause more bleeding – something any competent physician avoids in treating hemorrhagic stroke cases.
When a physician incorrectly assumes that a clot is the cause of a stroke, the physician may prescribe an anticoagulant medication. If the cause of a stroke is instead due to internal bleeding, the patient’s symptoms may deteriorate further as the medication causes more bleeding.
Delayed Diagnosis of the Stroke
A delayed diagnosis of a stroke can be just as deadly as a misdiagnosis. A delayed diagnosis can result in improper medical care and negative patient outcomes as the medical team loses valuable time to manage the stroke.
A delayed diagnosis happens for several reasons. First, a medical facility may not have adequate staff to attend to every patient. Right away, the reduced availability of healthcare staff compromises patient safety. Most importantly, fewer doctors mean less timely stroke assessments and evaluations.
Another possible reason for a delayed diagnosis is that a doctor may have failed to identify root causes. This can happen because the doctor failed to obtain the patient’s medical history – which brings us to the next common cause of medical errors.
Failure to Take the Patient’s Medical History
A patient’s medical history is a valuable source of information in identifying a patient’s predisposition to stroke. It contains everything from a patient’s occupation to their diet — things doctors might need to know to identify the root cause of a stroke.
It’s the doctor’s job to obtain a patient’s health history and include it in the patient’s medical records. Without doing so, physicians may fail to render appropriate treatment and cause a patient’s symptoms to deteriorate.
Medical malpractice occurs when doctors fail to take a patient’s health history. Any evidence that suggests the failure to perform health history-taking signals negligence on the part of the attending physician.
Mistakes in Administering Anesthesia
Many surgeries require anesthesia. For this reason, the potential for anesthesia errors and stroke goes up during operations.
Anesthesia can cause the heart to slow down. It also decreases respiration and allows the blood vessels to relax. While these seem like positive effects, they can reduce oxygen and blood flow to the brain. With too much anesthesia, a patient may go into shock and have a stroke on the surgical table.
Anesthesia errors are almost always the result of poor vital signs monitoring. Failures in monitoring vital signs mid-surgery make anesthesia errors a form of medical malpractice.
Surgical errors can also lead to strokes. This is because a surgical error can cause massive bleeding. With massive bleeding comes reduced blood flow to the brain and other vital organs. This results in poor oxygen supply to the brain, which can later escalate to brain damage.
Surgical errors can also result in clots from bleeding. The clots can travel to the arteries that go to the brain. Without management, the clots can block the arteries, depriving the brain of much-needed oxygenated blood.
Childbirth injuries can lead to the development of fetal stroke in infants. When the birth injuries involve the head and neck, the infant’s breathing becomes compromised. With compromised breathing, the infant fails to take in oxygen, resulting in brain damage.
Birth injuries are preventable most of the time. For this reason, the presence of injuries indicates negligence on the part of the physician and other members of the healthcare team. If your baby has developed a stroke from birth injuries, know that you have a medical malpractice case. Contact us at the Pagan Law Firm today to file your medical malpractice claim.
The Potential Consequences of Misdiagnosing or Mistreating a Stroke
A misdiagnosed or untreated stroke can have disastrous effects on patients. Here are some of the catastrophic results of misdiagnosed or poorly treated strokes.
Disability from a stroke is the result of decreases in cognitive and motor function. When a doctor fails to diagnose and treat a stroke, a patient can lose several brain functions – often those for movement.
If left unmanaged or undiagnosed, strokes can lead to permanent brain damage. Brain damage occurs because of a lack of blood and oxygen to brain tissue. When brain damage occurs, patients may become permanently unable to speak, move, or maintain consciousness.
Long-Term Sensory Deficits
A patient can lose several sensory faculties following a stroke. Besides the loss of consciousness, patients can experience decreases in the ability to use and hear speech, see in one eye, maintain balance, and more.
Finally, strokes can lead to wrongful death due to permanent brain damage. If you have lost someone to a stroke as a result of the negligence of medical professionals, contact The Pagan Law Firm for a free consultation.
How to Seek Justice From Stroke Malpractice
If you or your loved one suffered from a stroke due to the negligence of the medical staff, you might have a medical malpractice case. To maximize your chances of a successful medical malpractice claim, follow these steps.
Prove That Negligence Occurred With Records and a Second Opinion
One of the ways to establish negligence is by getting a second opinion from other medical professionals. Other medical professionals can determine where your physician committed an error. As a result, you can discover who to hold liable in your medical malpractice case.
Show That Medical Negligence Caused the Stroke
After establishing there was negligence, you must secure evidence to prove that it led to your stroke and other medical complications. The best pieces of evidence to use would be diagnostics like scans and your medical records. If you are unaware of what evidence to include in your medical malpractice claim, contact us. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you build a compelling case backed up by the right evidence.
Prove the Existence of Injury and Damages
No personal injury or medical malpractice claim is complete without any proof of injuries or damages. By showing your injuries and how these injuries have affected your life, you will be developing a more compelling medical malpractice claim.
Contact an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney
Once you have enough evidence and testimonies to prove negligence, the cause of your injury, and damages, it’s time to file your medical malpractice lawsuit. If you need an experienced attorney, reach out to The Pagan Law Firm and maximize your chances of a successful medical malpractice claim.
What Potential Damages Can You Receive?
A successful medical malpractice claim entitles you to compensation that pays for several types of medical malpractice damages. Here are some of the damages your settlement pays for.
At the very least, successful medical malpractice claims entitle victims to reimbursements for medical bills. By medical bills, we mean both the medical expenses you have incurred and future medical bills. With an experienced attorney, you can get a settlement that can also cover rehabilitative expenses. Maximize your settlement by getting in touch with us at The Pagan Law Firm today.
When you have a stroke, you will be unable to work for days, weeks, months, or even years. You can seek compensation for the wages you missed out on because you were recovering from a stroke caused by medical malpractice.
Moreover, strokes can be debilitating. For this reason, most survivors are unable to get back to their old jobs. Some are forced to take on lower-paying jobs because of their new stroke-related disabilities. If your stroke has affected your ability to make a living, you can also claim lost income as part of the damages.
The calculation of wage losses and lost income will vary between medical malpractice cases. To maximize your medical malpractice claim, get an experienced medical malpractice attorney to represent you.
Pain and Suffering
Strokes and other medical malpractice cases can take a toll on victims emotionally and psychologically. As a stroke victim, you can claim pain and suffering when you file your medical malpractice claim. You will need the help of an experienced attorney to calculate your pain and suffering damages.
Maximize what you can get out of your malpractice claim by contacting our attorneys at The Pagan Law Firm.
Compensation for Wrongful Death
Losing a loved one to a stroke is never easy. It’s even more devastating when the cause of the stroke was medical negligence. By filing a wrongful death claim, you can recover damages resulting from the loss of your loved one.
Damages from a wrongful death include loss of companionship, loss of economic support, and emotional damage.
To file a medical malpractice and wrongful death claim in New York, you must be one of the deceased’s direct family members. This means you must be the parent or child of the person who died from a stroke. Also, spouses can file wrongful death and medical malpractice claims against negligent parties in New York.
Do You Need a Medical Malpractice Lawyer? Contact the Pagan Law Firm!
A stroke is one of the most catastrophic and debilitating medical complications that can result from medical malpractice. If you or someone you know suffered from a stroke due to a doctor’s negligence, you can bring forward a medical malpractice case.
Filing a medical malpractice claim is going to be an uphill battle. However, you don’t have to do it alone. All you need is an experienced medical malpractice attorney in your corner representing you each step of the way.
At The Pagan Law Firm, we have an extensive record of successful medical malpractice claims. Be one of our success stories. Call us now at 212-967-8202 if you have a medical malpractice case or click here to schedule a free consultation.