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What exactly is a stroke? A stroke occurs when there is a blockage in one of the blood vessels of the brain or when one of these blood vessels bursts. When that specific area of the brain is deprived of blood and oxygen, the cells can start to die. As each area of the brain controls different functions of the body, the consequences will differ in each situation. What makes a stroke so serious is the fact that brain damage can occur within only minutes of the blood vessel bursting. For this reason, it is imperative that individuals who notice the symptoms of a stroke seek medical attention as soon as possible.
What are the symptoms of a stroke? Those who experience a stroke may suddenly lose feeling in their face, arms, legs, or even throughout the entire side of their body. They may also experience difficulties while speaking or with their vision. Severe and unusual headaches may also point to the possibility of a stroke as well as problems with balance. In some cases, this could be a transient ischemic attack, or a mini-stroke. Even though these strokes are not as serious, it could be a red flag that a full stroke may occur in the near future.
Diagnosing & Treating a Stroke
In order to accurately diagnose a stroke, it first must be understood that there are two separate types of strokes a victim could suffer from. First is an ischemic stroke. This is caused when a blood clot blocks the blood flow in a vessel in the brain. These clots can travel from other areas in the body and make their way to the brain. On average, eight out of every ten strokes suffered by victims are ischemic strokes and are the most common when it comes to older adults. The second type of stroke is a hemorrhagic stroke. Rather than a clot blocking a blood vessel, this occurs when a vessel in the brain actually bursts. Even though this type of stroke is less common than an ischemic stroke, it is more fatal.
The first step a doctor will take when examining a possible stroke victim is to determine which type of stroke they suffered from. A CT scan may be used to find out if and where there is a clot or bleeding in the brain. Treatment of the stroke will also depend on which type of stroke occurred. When a patient suffers from an ischemic stroke, the goal of the physician will be to get rid of the blockage so that blood flow can be restored. This can be done by administering a drug which gets rid of blood clots. Treatment of a hemorrhagic stroke can be more difficult as the doctor may have to perform surgery in order to stop the bleeding. Medications which help reduce swelling or pressure in the brain could also be prescribed.
Were you the victim of medical malpractice?
How can medical malpractice affect a patient who suffered from a stroke? When it comes to strokes, it is estimated that up to 20% of strokes are not diagnosed correctly by medical professionals. As the successful recovery of a stroke victim depends greatly on the speed it is treated, misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis could result in permanent brain damage, or even death. If the doctor does recognize that the patient is suffering from a stroke, if they make an error regarding the type of stroke, the subsequent treatment will also be ineffective. There have also been cases of doctors failing to give the patient the medication soon enough and the stroke is allowed to worsen in the meantime.
If you have questions concerning medical malpractice in a stroke case, please contact our firm to discuss your unique situation. For more information regarding spinal cord injuries and medical malpractice, please contact a medical malpractice lawyer from our team today!