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How do doctors miss the signs of a stroke?

On Behalf of | Dec 22, 2020 | Misdiagnosis

When someone’s having stroke symptoms, they may not realize what’s happening. All they know is that they don’t feel well — and they rely on the doctor at the nearest hospital to tell them what’s wrong.

For the most part, they get the help they need — but doctors do make mistakes. Sometimes, they overlook the symptoms of a stroke because they are rushed or inexperienced. Other times, a doctor may have given into conscious or unconscious biases that color their perceptions and lead to mistakes.

Some patients are more likely than others to have stroke symptoms ignored

Minorities, women and people who are under 45 years of age have an increased chance of a missed diagnosis of a stroke. Far too often, doctors fall back on the idea that younger people can’t have strokes, or they dismiss the complaints of women and minorities because they buy into the notion that either group may exaggerate their symptoms.

A minor stroke with mild symptoms can be mistaken for something less serious

One thing that people don’t realize is that there are sometimes signs of a stroke that occur before the major signs appear. Some people visited an emergency department in the 30-day period before they had a stroke. Some of these individuals were diagnosed with things like dizziness or headaches. A doctor from Johns Hopkins University notes that some of those patients may have had a missed stroke diagnosis during that visit that preceded the major stroke event. 

Any patient who’s been harmed by an emergency room doctor who missed the signs of a stroke should know that they have legal options. These may help them to recover the financial damages that they’re facing because of the missed diagnosis. There are time limits that apply to these cases, so don’t lose sight of how much time passes before you take action.