Stroke Misdiagnosis | Failure to Diagnose a Stroke

Stroke Compensation

Misdiagnosis of Stroke Claims

A stroke is a serious life-threatening medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.

Strokes are one of the largest causes of disability in adults and are one of the leading causes of death in the UK.  The consequences of suffering a Stroke can be devastating.

Strokes are a medical emergency and urgent treatment is vital. The sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the less damage is likely to occur.

Causes of a stroke

The brain needs oxygen and nutrients provided by blood to function properly. If the supply of blood is restricted or stopped, brain cells begin to die. This can lead to brain injury, disability and possibly death.

There are two main causes of strokes:

  • ischaemic‚Ästwhere the blood supply to the brain is stopped¬†because of¬†a¬†blood clot; and
  • haemorrhagic‚Ästwhere a weakened blood vessel supplying the brain bursts causing bleeding.

There is also a related condition known as a¬†transient ischaemic attack (TIA), where the blood supply to the brain is temporarily interrupted causing a ‚Äėmini-stroke‚Äô, often lasting between a few minutes and several hours. TIAs should be treated urgently, as they’re often a warning sign you’re at risk of having a full stroke in the near future.

Risk of Stroke

Certain conditions increase the risk of having a stroke, including:

Symptoms of Stroke

Symptoms include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion / Disorientation
  • Drooping face
  • One-sided weakness¬†

Signs of a brain haemorrhage may also include a severe headache that comes on very rapidly, pain behind the eyes and sensitivity to light.

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Treating a Stroke

Treatment depends on the type of stroke suffered, including which part of the brain was affected.

Many strokes are treated with medication to prevent and dissolve blood clots, reduce blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels.

In some cases, medical procedures may be required to remove blood clots, treat brain swelling and reduce the risk of further bleeding in cases of haemorrhagic strokes.

When a patient displaying the symptoms described above is admitted to hospital no time should be wasted in carrying out a CT scan. This should then be sent to a consultant neurosurgeon for review so that appropriate treatment can be started.

Medical Negligence

If a medical practitioner does not identify the signs of a stroke / subarachnoid haemorrhage or TIA, it can lead to a delay in treatment.

Instead a patient may be diagnosed with another condition such as a migraine and be discharged home.

This can have devastating consequences. It can result in further serious damage to the brain causing long-term issues with speech, memory, mobility and mental activities and skills used to perform tasks such as learning, reasoning, understanding, remembering and paying attention. The patient may also suffer another re-bleed causing extensive damage to the brain and making the prospects of recovery very poor.

Sometimes a medical practitioner may misdiagnose the type of stroke which will lead to them providing incorrect treatment. For example, if a person has suffered a bleed on the brain (Haemorrhagic Stroke) and is given a blood thinning injection for a blood clot (Ischaemic Stroke), this can cause more bleeding and worsen the outcome of the stroke.

If you have or a loved one have suffered injury due to misdiagnosis of a stroke you may be able to make a claim for compensation.

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OTHER LOSSES

You may also be able to claim for other losses you may have incurred or may incur in the future as a result of the negligent treatment.

This may include:

  • ¬†the cost of treatment or medication
  • ¬†loss of earnings
  • ¬†travel expenses to and from your Hospital for treatment
  • ¬†care and assistance someone has had to give you because of your injuries

Keep a record of any financial losses you have suffered as a result of negligence. This will include for example any wage slips or P60s. You should also keep any receipts for other losses.

TIME LIMITS

You only have 3 years to issue Court Proceedings from the date you first knew, or could reasonably have been expected to know, that you have suffered an injury caused by the fault of a medical practitioner .

This could be the date of the mistake or some time later if you did not know you had been injured at the time the mistake was made.

If Court Proceedings are not issued within 3 years of that date you would usually be unable to pursue your claim further.

The Courts can however waive this 3-year time limit in some circumstances. In any event you should seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity.

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