New York City Failure to Diagnose Stroke Attorney


What is a Stroke?

A stroke is a cerebral-vascular event where blood flow is cut off to part of the brain, resulting in oxygen deprivation. When the brain is deprived of oxygen, the cells begin to die and brain damage occurs. The blockage of blood flow is caused by a clot or other form of blockage in a blood vessel, or by a burst blood vessel.

Strokes are occasionally referred to as “brain attacks,” the cerebral equivalent to a heart attack. Just like heart attacks, it is important to address strokes as quickly as possible. Damage done to the brain by a stroke is permanent. If there are particular functions accomplished by the damaged brain cells, these functions are significantly impaired or lost entirely, requiring the individual to relearn the task. In cases of significant damage, functions may be permanently impaired.

Early Warning Signs of Strokes

A prompt diagnosis of stroke is extremely important. The more time the brain is deprived of oxygen, the more extensive the damage done to brain cells. A quick reaction can result in minimal damage. Because of this, recognizing the early symptoms of stroke is extremely important, especially for medical professionals. Early signs of stroke include:

  • Sudden difficulty speaking
  • Sudden difficulty comprehending or responding
  • Sudden dizziness or vision problems
  • Loss of control of one side of the body

In many situations, these symptoms will seem to resolve themselves on their own within 10-20 minutes. If this is the case, it is likely the patient suffered a Transient Ischemic Attack, or mini-stroke. TIAs are often warning signs for later, full strokes. If a person believes they have suffered a TIA, they should seek medical help and be evaluated for underlying issues that could increase the likelihood of a cerebral-vascular event occurring.

Doctors estimate that anywhere from 1 in 5 stroke sufferers will first experience a TIA. These early episodes, which are excellent predictors of a significant event to come, should result in early interventions by medical professionals. All too often, they are ignored.

Deficiencies Associated With Delayed Diagnosis

Transient Ischemic Attacks can be a blessing, allowing for a quicker diagnosis and prompt treatment. When time is of the essence, being able to provide medical professionals with a timeline of symptoms is important. A person suffering a TIA should see a doctor as soon as possible, and should be prepared to provide when it happened and which symptoms were present.

Unfortunately, there is always a risk that a doctor fails to make the proper diagnosis, even in the face of recurrent TIAs in the hours leading up to the stroke. Even if patients provide all the necessary information to treating physicians, unacceptable mistakes are made. Doctors miss diagnoses all the time, and when they do patients suffer.

The physical and cognitive repercussions of a missed diagnosis are very obvious. Patients who needlessly suffered extended oxygen deprivation to their brains often lose motor function in parts of their body. Requiring a wheelchair or walker for the rest of their lives is not uncommon, and permanent weakness in one side of the body is a side effect of delayed treatment. The patient might have a visibly droopy eye or slack cheek on one side of the body as well.

Cognitive decline is also common and easily recognized. A person who has suffered a stroke might struggle to perform previously learned tasks. They may be unable to do basic mathematics or perform functions of memory or logic. The emotional repercussions are less obvious but equally real. Patients who suffered from a missed diagnosis often struggle with determining to what extent their limitations were caused by the stroke itself, and what were caused by the failures of medical professionals to diagnose and treat it.

Strokes are a common event, particularly as people age. Missed strokes, where medical doctors fail to make the proper diagnosis, are terrifyingly common. Thousands of Americans suffer because medical professionals did not respond promptly enough to symptoms, causing significant damage to the brain that the person will struggle to overcome for years.

If you or someone you love suffered because a stroke diagnosis was missed, years of physical, cognitive, and emotional therapy could be needed to regain quality of life. Finz & Finz, P.C., appreciates the difficulties you now face, and can be relied on to guide your case through the difficult legal process. Contact Finz & Finz, P.C., now, toll free, at (855) TOP FIRM, or fill out the Free Stroke Diagnosis Case Evaluation Form to have skilled attorneys help you determine how to proceed.