Valenzuela Law Firm, PA | Trial Attorney
Attorney Henry E. Valenzuela

How can you avoid a stroke misdiagnosis?

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2024 | Misdiagnosis

Stroke is the second most common cause of death worldwide, according to the American Stroke Association. Too many people die from a stroke because of delayed treatment or misdiagnosis. You can take proactive steps to reduce the risk that you or a loved one suffers from this debilitating and often deadly disease.

Step #1: Know the dangers of delayed diagnosis and misdiagnosis of a stroke

A stroke patient needs to receive urgent treatment – in this case, often a potent blood thinner that restores blood flow to the brain – promptly to limit the damage caused by a stroke. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to stop brain bleeding.

A quick and accurate diagnosis of a stroke can have an enormous impact on both medical treatment and the patient’s chance of recovery.  Misdiagnosing a stroke as another illness or failure to determine the specific type of stroke can be fatal and lead to a brain hemorrhage, permanent brain damage and death.

Step #2: Learn the signs of a stroke

We are often our own best advocates for medical care. Knowing when you are suffering from a stroke can save your life. The acronym F.A.S.T. can help you to quickly identify a stroke:

Face dropping

Arm weakness

Speech difficulty

Time to call 911

You should take note of the time you started experiencing these symptoms, as your doctor or urgent care provider will need to know.

Step #3: Be prepared for diagnostic tests

Tests to accurately diagnose a stroke can include a brain CT scan, MRI, or computed tomographic angiography (CTA), among others. There will also likely be blood tests to rule out the cause of the stroke and electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) to check the heart’s electrical activity.

A stroke can be a serious, life-changing medical emergency. Legal remedies are likely available if a medical professional fails to conduct necessary diagnostic testing or otherwise misdiagnoses a stroke. If this failure or misdiagnosis results in serious injury, you may be able to hold the hospital and medical professionals accountable for malpractice. An attorney experienced in this area of the law can review your case and discuss your options.

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