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When doctors fail to recognize stroke symptoms

As is the case for many types of medical conditions, stroke victims can benefit vastly and often see notable improvement if they can access prompt diagnosis and treatment. Unfortunately, when health care providers overlook or misdiagnose stroke symptoms, patients may not get the care they need in time. In the best case scenario, such a mistake may set back recovery signficantly; in the worst case, the patient may die as a result. How fast a stroke victim gets the right treatment can substantially affect ultimate outcomes.

A stroke occurs when blood supply to the brain is interrupted. If the interruption lasts more than a few seconds, the lack of continuous blood and oxygen supply to the brain may cause cells to die off. The resulting permanent brain damage can cause a wide range of functional impairments to various parts of the body.

How strokes happen

There exist two main biological mechanisms that tend to trigger strokes. An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks the flow in a vessel that supplies blood to the brain. This can happen when the clot forms in a narrow artery, resulting in a thrombotic stroke. Alternatively, a clot may migrate to the brain from a vessel in another part of the body and cause an embolic stroke, also known as a cerebral embolism.

Another way blood flow becomes interrupted is when a blood vessel in the brain bursts and spills blood throughout the brain, causing a hemorrhagic stroke. Risk factors generally include malformation or weakness of blood vessels in the brain.

What makes strokes more likely

Major risk factors for strokes include lifestyle factors such as weight, alcohol consumption, salt intake, smoking and drug use. Some prescription medications, such as birth control pills, may also increase the likelihood of a stroke. People with certain health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure, tend to have a higher risk of strokes.

Misdiagnosis or delaying diagnosis of a serious event such as a stroke may be medical malpractice if the practitioner did not comply with relevant standards of care. If you or a loved one suffered as a result of malpractice, you may be entitled to legal recourse, including damages.

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