A stroke is the medical term for a condition in which a blood vessel that provides necessary oxygen to the brain bursts or is blocked by clots, resulting in the oxygen supply to the brain being disrupted. Without oxygen, brain tissue begins to die. If this process proceeds uninterrupted for very long, death or serious disability usually occurs.
There are often warning signs that a stroke may be about to occur. Potential signals of impending stroke include:
- Loss of balance or difficulty walking
Because these symptoms can indicate a variety of problems, a CT scan may be ordered. A CT scan may show a clot partially blocking a blood vessel, and if the clot is identified early enough while the occlusion is only partial, the issue can be resolved before the patient suffers serious issues. Blood clots may be resolved in a variety of ways, including the use of blood thinners or, in serious cases, with emergency surgery.
Ordering a CT scan is a simple decision for an Emergency Room doctor when a patient presents with warning signs of stroke. This is only the first step in making a proper diagnosis however. If the scan is performed incorrectly, or if it is misread, the impending stroke will be missed. In these cases, the patient will usually suffer some significant effects from what was a preventable disease.
Sadly, misread CT scan results are far too common, with some studies indicating error rates in the double digits. If you or someone you love has suffered due to a radiologist’s error, please consider consulting with an experienced attorney. Only by holding medical professionals responsible for the damage done by their negligence can we begin to change the culture that leads to these mistakes.