Have you recently suffered a stroke or stroke-related injuries that you believe could have been prevented or mitigated had your doctor properly diagnosed your condition at the onset of symptoms?
When a doctor misdiagnoses a patient’s medical condition, or fails to provide the standard level and quality of care a responsible physician under the same circumstances would provide, it can very easily lead to the patient suffering serious, yet preventable injury or harm. In cases where the misdiagnosis is for a life-threatening condition such as a stroke, the outcome could be fatal. Misdiagnosis is one of the more common instances of medical malpractice in hospitals and emergency departments across the United States.
According to a recent study featured in HealthDay, the beginning signs and symptoms of a stroke are misdiagnosed between 15,000 and 165,000 times a year by emergency room doctors and in patients under the average stroke age. In 13 percent of stroke cases studied, patients who had been admitted to the hospital for a stroke had, within the previous 30 days, gone into an emergency room complaining of symptoms generally associated with a stroke like dizziness or headaches, yet were sent home instead of receiving further tests or treatment.
Who is Likely to be Misdiagnosed for a Stroke?
A person’s age, health, and whether he or she has a history of strokes, are often considered to be important factors in determining those who are most likely to suffer a stroke. What you may not realize is other factors such as race or ethnicity can also play a significant role.
Women, minorities and individuals under the age of 45 are the groups most often misdiagnosed when exhibiting signs of a stroke, according to HealthDay. In fact, the risk of misdiagnosis is 33 percent higher in women, and 20 to 20 percent higher in minorities. Children and young adults are almost seven times more likely to receive a misdiagnosis when experiencing early symptoms of a stroke.
Recordonline.com reveals that strokes can happen to an individual at any age. Contrary to popular belief, even infants can suffer from a stroke. Possible signs of a stroke can include:
- Facial droopiness or numbness
- Numbness or weakness in the arms
- Slurred speech or speech difficulties.
Babies or younger children may exhibit these signs or any of the following as an indication of a stroke:
- Extreme exhaustion or sleepiness
- Development of a hand preference (right- or left-handed) before 18 months of age
- Issues with balance or coordination
- Extreme headaches.
Nationwide Stroke Statistics
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveal that stroke is not only the number one cause of significant long-term disability, it also the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. and responsible for killing close to 130,000 Americans each year. As one person in the U.S. dies from a stroke every four minutes, and more than 795,000 people suffer strokes every year, correct and timely diagnoses are vital.
Legal Representation for Victims of Medical Malpractice
If you believe your doctor may have misdiagnosed your stroke, causing you to suffer additional injury or harm, you may be eligible to seek damages to cover medical expenses, loss of income and other costs incurred as a result of the misdiagnose or delay in treatment. Speak with a skilled Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney to learn more about your rights and the legal options available to you.