Having a stroke can be a devastating event. It can potentially lead to permanently impaired mental capacity or death. Timely diagnosis and treatment are necessary to reduce the severe effects of a stroke. Unfortunately, misdiagnosis is common. According to a recent study, early symptoms of stroke are commonly missed by emergency room doctors. Women, minorities and young people are especially at risk.
Your quality of life is at risk if your stroke is not properly detected and treated. Keep reading to learn how misdiagnosis occurs and how it may amount to medical malpractice.
How doctors misdiagnose stroke
First, it is important to understand the two main types of stroke: those caused by bleeding (hemorrhagic) and those caused by a blood clot (ischemic). It is crucial for a doctor to quickly determine the type of stroke because the medications for each can have adverse effects if used for another type. Sometimes a stroke can be misdiagnosed as another condition, such as:
The main way for a doctor to distinguish these conditions from a stroke is dependent on imaging tests, such as an MRI or CT Scan. However, a doctor may even misdiagnose a patient after reviewing these tests.
A doctor typically conducts a differential diagnosis to conclude whether a patient is having a stroke. This process includes testing for various medical conditions related to the signs and symptoms. The doctor then rules out ones that do not match up and eventually makes a definitive diagnosis. In order to prove that your doctor is legally liable for misdiagnosing your stroke, you and your attorney must show how the doctor did not follow this medical standard.
If you are suffering from the effects of a stroke and suspect you were misdiagnosed, you should talk to a medical malpractice attorney. An attorney can help you determine whether your doctor committed medical malpractice and help you recover damages.