Strokes are the third leading medical cause of death in the United States, the main cause of long-term disability in adults, and they cost upwards of $70 billion dollars each year in medical costs. A stroke occurs when blood flow is interrupted to any part of the brain. If blood flow stops for more than several seconds, the brain is deprived of oxygen and brain cells can die. A person suffering from a stroke needs immediate medical attention to prevent brain damage and death.
Symptoms of stroke depend greatly on what part of the brain is damaged, but they can either develop suddenly and without warning, or occur on and off for a day or two, but get increasingly worse. If stroke is caused by bleeding in the brain, a headache may occur. The headache may occur when a person is laying flat, it may wake a person up from sleep, and it may get worse with the change of position. Other symptoms may include sleepiness, changes in hearing and taste, clumsiness, confusion, difficulty swallowing, trouble reading or writing, dizziness, lack of control of the bladder, loss of balance and coordination, muscle weakness, numbness or tingling, trouble speaking, or trouble walking.
Diagnosis & Care
In order to determine the type, location, and cause of the stroke, physician’s generally complete both physical and neurological exam. A CT scan or an MRI scan of the brain is also usually done on the patient. If the stroke could have been caused by a blood clot from the heart, an echocardiogram may be done. A carotid duplex enables the physician to see if narrowing of the neck arteries led to the stroke. An angiogram of the head can reveal which blood vessel is blocked or bleeding. Lab tests typically include a complete blood count, bleeding time, and blood clotting tests. A spinal tap may also be done.
Brain injuries that result from a stroke often are the end result of a sequence of errors related to diagnosis, treatment, or even surgery. If your doctor failed to recognize and treat the symptoms of stroke, our medical malpractice lawyers may be able to recover compensation for you and your loved ones. When brain injury is the result of a physician’s negligence or a violation of standards of care, he or she may be legally liable for the resulting damages. In the worst cases, severe brain damage can result in extreme disability or even death. If you or a loved one believe that a medical error, misdiagnosis, or delayed diagnosis contributed to devastating consequences resulting from a stroke, contact the brain injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt for a free consultation.
The best treatment options attempt to restore blood flow to the brain and reduce the chances of further injury. Common non-surgical treatment options for stroke include administering a variety of drugs. Thrombolysis is generally the first treatment administered when an individual is brought to the hospital. It opens up blocked blood vessels and restores blood flow to the brain, but it has quite a few limitations. It must be administered within three hours of the stroke and the patient cannot be on certain medications or have any diseases that weaken their blood vessels. Although this therapy option is quite limited, it is currently the only FDA-approved treatment option. Other treatment options include drugs that address anticoagulation (thinning the blood), antihypertension (reducing blood pressure to avoid hemorrhage), and antiplatelet (reducing inflammation).
Books & Resources
For more information on stroke injuries, the following resources are available: