What is a stroke and how does it occur?

Stroke is defined as the loss of blood flow to part of the brain which causes thesudden death of brain cells due to a lack of oxygen. It is caused by blockage or rupture of an artery to the brain. When brain cells are damaged, the result can be abnormal brain function.

Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability and the third leading cause of death in the United States. Stroke misdiagnosis can mean the failure to recognize a stroke immediately after, or while it is occurring, or overlooking signs of an impending stroke. If a member of your family has incurred brain damage as a result of an undiagnosed stroke, then you may be able to make a claim compensation for a brain injury caused by medical malpractice. 

Ischemic strokes typically unfold over a period of hours. That means that with every second you wait for treatment, the brain damage gets worse. If a stroke is untreated for the 10 hours, the brain can age up to 36 years! With every minute you wait, the brain loses two million brain cells.

An undiagnosed stroke or misdiagnosed stroke means delayed treatment or no treatment at all. This allows brain cell death to continue, andcontinue and can quickly escalate to preventable permanent brain injury or death. Consequences of undiagnosed stroke or misdiagnosed stroke can include: 

  • Brain injury
  • Paralysis, often on one side of the body
  • Seizures
  • Loss of motor skills
  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty speaking and/or understanding words
  • Difficulty reading and writing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Pain
  • Behavioral changes
  • Depression
  • Death

How is a stroke diagnosed?

stroke diagnosed

Strokes are usually diagnosed by doing physical tests and studying images of the brain produced during a scan. When you first arrive at hospital with a suspected stroke, the doctor will want to find out as much as they can about your symptoms. The longer they take to diagnose and treat a stroke, the worse the damage will be. Some Doctors or hospitals will even administer an IV injection of recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) before they send the patient for the MRI scan which will confirm whether they had a stroke or not. 

Although strokes are commonly associated with elderly people, they can occur in younger people too. The younger person,  the more likely it is that the stroke may be misdiagnosed or missed altogether. When a stroke occurs and is not treated correctly, then the effects can be much more severe. Some younger people who have suffered strokes often take years to recover and may even never walk again or gain back full use of their bodily functions. 

In some cases, people have mini strokes (sometimes called transient ischemic attacks or “TIA”) or silent strokes leading up to a major stroke. They may even approach their doctor with various symptoms pointing to an impending stroke. If the doctor doesn’t take preventative action, then it could be classed as medical negligence if a serious stroke could have been prevented. 

How to aid recovery after a stroke

There are typically three types of treatment that a stroke patient can underg. The firstne is physical therapy to help patients gain back gross motor skills and fine motor skills. Occupational therapists focus on helping patients to regain the skills needed for everyday life tasks such as cooking, eating, drinking, and bathing. Speech therapists help patients to regain their speech and other cognitive abilities such as listening and understanding. Because stroke affects the cognitive domain, which includes attention, memory, language, and orientation, some stroke victims may struggle with communication.  Around 30% of stroke patients develop dementia within one year of having a stroke. 

If your loved one’s physical health or quality of life has been affected as a result of an undiagnosed or misdiagnosed stroke, speak with the specialist team of brain injury attorneys at Stalwart Law to see if you may have a viable claim.

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