Strokes often happen without warning. Some are almost instantly fatal. Others cause permanent brain injury, partial paralysis, physical disability, neurological damage, or even coma.
Fortunately, many strokes can be managed if treated early enough. The right medical approach can limit the long-term impact and prevent permanent injury, as well as recurrence.
So what happens if the Emergency Room doctor incorrectly decides that you aren’t having a stroke? That happens more often than you might think, and those misdiagnoses cost patients the precious early hours during which they could have been saved.
Stroke Malpractice: How Does It Happen?
When doctors fail to properly respond to a stroke or mini-stroke, their negligence constitutes stroke malpractice, for which they may be financially liable.
You might be wondering how an experienced doctor could make such a critical and potentially deadly error. Typically, we see stroke malpractice unfold in one of a few contexts:
- Failure to Diagnose — Doctors are sometimes quick to dismiss symptoms as something less serious. This is particularly common in cases where a patient is young, does not fit the profile of the typical stroke patient, or presents with uncommon symptoms. Doctors have a duty, though, to take stroke seriously, to know and identify the many symptoms, and to understand that strokes can happen to anyone. When considering a diagnosis doctor’s should think in terms of “Worst First”. Basically, rule out the most serious (worst) possible condition first.
- Delay in Treatment — Hospitals and doctors are busy. Nevertheless, any potential stroke should be treated as a top-priority emergency. Waiting too long to assess a patient or to begin treatment could constitute stroke malpractice. As a rule of thumb, doctor’s need to initiate treatment within 3 hours of onset.
- Improper Treatment — There are different kinds of strokes. The recommended course of treatment can vary depending on the patient and the diagnosis. Doctors must act quickly with the right response.
- Failure to Prevent — While strokes can happen without warning, some patients exhibit warning signs for weeks, months, or even years. Others live with known risk factors. High blood pressure and atrial fibrillation, for example, are common conditions that predispose patients to stroke. Doctors should provide instructions and prescribe medications as necessary to reduce the likelihood of preventable stroke.
- Medical Malpractice During Surgery — Believe it or not, doctors sometimes cause a stroke in an otherwise healthy patient. Routine surgery can lead to dangerous spikes in blood pressure or interruptions in healthy blood flow. Surgical errors that lead to blood clots, hypertension, or other causes of stroke may constitute medical malpractice.
Talk to an Attorney About Stroke Malpractice
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of stroke malpractice in Florida, you may be entitled to substantial financial compensation for your distress, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
An experienced Miami medical malpractice attorney at Kaire & Heffernan, LLC can help you investigate the circumstances surrounding the stroke, consult with expert witnesses, determine a doctor or hospital’s liability, and build a compelling case.
To schedule a free consultation with a Miami medical malpractice attorney today, simply contact our office. We are here to help Florida’s stroke victims.