Posted on February 08, 2019 in Medical Malpractice
A stroke is a potentially life-threatening medical condition that occurs when the blood flow to the brain has been disturbed, either by a clot or bleeding in the brain. It is the third leading cause of fatality in the United States, fatally injuring approximately 150,000 people each year. Thousands more are left with severe, permanent disabilities that can result in physical and cognitive impairments. There are a range of effective treatments that can help prevent a stroke and treat a patient who is having a stroke. However, in some cases, a stroke is either misdiagnosed as some other medical condition, or it is not treated quickly enough, which can have serious consequences.
Types of Strokes
There are two types of strokes that occur when there is a lack of blood flow to the brain. An ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke, which occurs when a clot develops in the artery, blocking the supply of blood and oxygen to the brain. In some cases, this is a hereditary condition. However, patients who had an invasive surgery are also at risk of developing a life-threatening blood clot. People with high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, and diabetes are also at risk for ischemic strokes. Prescription medications such as Coumadin, Plavix, and Heparin help prevent plaque buildup and blood clots.
Hemorrhagic strokes are caused by bleeding in the brain that occurs when a blood vessel breaks. These are far less common than ischemic strokes. Immediate treatment that focuses on controlling the bleeding and reducing the pressure in the brain will improve the chance of recovery. Certain prescription medications can help reduce blood pressure and slow the bleeding. Further treatments, including surgery, may also be necessary to repair a ruptured blood vessel.
Stroke Malpractice Cases
Medical malpractice cases involving stroke patients include strokes that could have been prevented and those that were caused by negligence. Examples include the following:
Failure to conduct the appropriate tests that would help diagnose a possible stroke
Misdiagnosing a stroke resulting in the failure to properly treat the condition
Failure to administer the tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), which is the proven and acceptable treatment for strokes
Failure to prescribe an anti-coagulant for patients with atrial fibrillation or other risk factors
Mistreatment during surgery that can lead to hypotension, increasing the risk for stroke
Strokes cause devastating damage that impact a patient’s health and quality of life. With the right treatment and lifestyle modifications, strokes can be avoided. However, if a healthcare provider fails to take the necessary steps to either prevent or treat a stroke, the patient may want to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit.