Headaches are among the most common maladies affecting Americans. Most people get a headache at least a few times a year, with some suffering this type of pain multiple times a week. The level of pain can range from a minor nuisance up to a blinding agony that requires shutting yourself up in a dark room to get some rest. Many over-the-counter drugs treat headaches with varying degrees of efficacy.
Because headaches are so common, determining when to seek emergency medical care can be difficult. This difficulty is exacerbated by many medical facilities downplaying the conditions associated with headache, resulting in patients feeling they are being over-dramatic by seeking care. But in some cases, headaches can indicate a need for emergent intervention. Examples of life-threatening conditions indicated by headache include:
- Brain bleed or hemorrhage
Though most headaches are not caused by these conditions, all of these diseases require immediate medical care. If a person experiences a sudden intense headache, or a headache much worse than any they have ever had, or if the headache is associated with blurred vision or difficulty walking, it is not unreasonable to call 911.
When a severe headache occurs, or when the headache is associated with other alarming symptoms, many of the diagnoses requiring emergent care can be confirmed through the use of a CT scan. A CT scan will indicate brain bleeds, clots, and burst blood vessels, allowing doctors to perform emergency surgery if necessary.
Unfortunately, even when a CT scan is ordered quickly enough, there is no guarantee it is properly performed and read. All too often radiologists make major mistakes that result in death or serious disability for patients. If you have suffered due to a misread CT scan, please consult with an experienced attorney regarding your case.