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What is an ischemic stroke and how might a doctor misdiagnose it?

When most people hear the word stroke, they often think of an ischemic stroke, which account for approximately 85 percent of all strokes, explains the Mayo Clinic. These types of strokes occur when the blood supply to the brain is reduced because of narrow passageways or interrupted by a blockage, such as a blood clot.

Without proper blood flow, the brain becomes deprived of needed nutrients and oxygen, which leads to cell death and eventual brain damage. For the individual who suffers a stroke, complications such as paralysis, difficulty swallowing or talking, memory loss, emotional problems and sensitivity to temperature changes may occur, which can significantly impact their daily life. 

Because of the damage that a stroke can cause, it's important to catch them as soon as possible. Unfortunately, despite our growing understanding of what causes strokes, doctors have been known to miss warning signs indicative of an ischemic stroke, leaving patients and their families devastated by the outcome.

How do doctors misdiagnose ischemic strokes?

Whether because of understaffing, fatigue, a lack of knowledge or sheer negligence, a doctor may miss key stroke symptoms, thereby leading to a misdiagnosis.

A doctor may mistake an elevated heart rate for hypertension instead of a sign that a blood clot has formed in a person's lungs. Another doctor may think that a patient's loss of coordination is a sign of a neurological disorder instead of an indication that there is a blood clot in the patient's brain.

A misdiagnosis should not be your burden to bear

When a doctor fails to read the signs of a stroke or misdiagnoses it as another condition, patients and their families lose precious time that could be spent properly treating the problem and potentially avoiding serious brain damage or the death of a loved one.

For those who understand their rights, the misdiagnosis of an ischemic stroke or other type of stroke can lead to civil action and eventually compensation if a judge rules favorably for the plaintiff.

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