Failure to Diagnose Stroke
Stroke is a leading cause of death in the United States. Even in cases where it does not lead to death, it can leave patients severely permanently debilitated. Many strokes are treatable, but the timing of the diagnosis is vital. It is, therefore, extremely important for the doctor to timely diagnose the stroke.
How Are Liability, Causation, & Damages Satisfied for This Case Type
Strokes are often undiagnosed until it is too late to treat. One reason is the failure by the doctor to recognize that the patient was suffering a stroke. Sometimes the patient's signs and symptoms do not warrant a stroke workup, in which case there would not be liability. However, many times, a stroke workup is warranted based on the signs and symptoms, but the doctor simply fails to recognize that the patient is having a stroke. If a stroke workup was warranted but not performed, there is liability.
Another type of stroke case we often see if failure to prevent a stroke. This occurs when a patient should have been on blood thinners but the doctor failed to prescribe the medication which may have prevented the stroke.
Was the malpractice the cause of the injury? In failure to timely diagnose a stroke, the big questions become 1) was the patient within the window of treatment when the doctor initially failed to diagnose the stroke? and if so, 2) was this stroke a treatable stroke? Not all strokes are treatable and sometimes strokes which are diagnosed and found within the timeframe for treatment are still not treated.
What is the extent of the injuries? Some strokes are mild and do not have lasting deficits while many result permanent deficits, such as paralysis, memory loss, weakness, difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), difficulty speaking (aphasia), etc. The extent of the injuries will greatly impact the value of the case.