Misdiagnosed Stroke Claims
Around 152,000 strokes occur in the UK every year and strokes are the second single largest cause of death in the world. Delays in diagnosing a stroke or complete failure to recognise the symptoms of a stroke can lead to serious brain damage and irreversible health conditions, or even prove to be fatal. Medical professionals have a duty of care to provide effective and reliable assessment and treatment to patients and breaches in this duty of care can amount to clinical negligence.
If you have suffered a stroke and did not receive an acceptable level of care, were misdiagnosed or improperly treated, you may be eligible to make a claim for compensation.
What is a Stroke?
A stroke is a potentially fatal medical condition where the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. If you are not diagnosed and treated quickly, the risk of death increases considerably, as does the likelihood of long-term disabilities and brain damage. Strokes are one of the most serious medical conditions and are treated as an emergency that requires the most urgent attention and treatment.
There are 2 stroke types, with the most common being ischaemic stroke. This type of stroke relates to a blood clot that obstructs the passage of blood to the brain. The other type of stroke, which is less common, is a haemorrhagic stroke, and this relates to a bleeding around or in the brain.
Transient Ischaemic Attacks
A Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) is sometimes referred to as a ‘mini-stroke’ and is where the blood supply to the brain is cut off only temporarily. This leads to the same symptoms of a stroke occurring though the patient will usually regain composure and stability after a few minutes or a few hours, at most.
The Symptoms of a Stroke?
Promoted by recent television adverts, a FAST test can be used as a diagnosing tool for people who suspect that they or someone close to them is suffering from a stroke or TIA. The test is as follows:
- FACE – is the patient’s face drooping on one side? Can the patient smile or does their eye or mouth seem lopsided?
- ARMS – Can the patient lift both of their arms and hold them in position? People who are suffering from a stroke or TIA are often unable to lift their arms due to weakness and numbness.
- SPEECH – The speech of a patient suffering from a stroke is likely to be somewhat incoherent, slurred and nonsensical. The patient may seem awake but unable to speak.
- TIME – If anyone is in the presence of a person who is presenting any of the above symptoms, it is time to call an ambulance immediately. The quicker the patient receives treatment, the better the prognosis will be.
If the symptoms suggest a stroke or a TIA, the patient will be taken to a hospital with a dedicated stroke unit for further investigation and treatment.
Once it has been established that a patient has had a stroke, brain images will be gathered within an hour, and this will help to ascertain the level of damage suffered.
If you have suffered from an ischaemic stroke, you will be prescribed with medications that will help to restore blood flow and supply to the brain. If the stroke was a haemorrhagic stroke, it is more likely that surgery will be required. Some patients will need to take medication for longer periods if there is a likelihood of another stroke.
Strokes can cause significant brain damage, and over 50% of stroke survivors are left with a disability of some sort, as reported by Stroke UK in 2015. Rehabilitation serves to maximise your ability to live the fullest life possible and enjoy as much independence as you can.
Rehabilitation usually begins quickly after a stroke is suffered and will be provided by a dedicated and specialised stroke rehab team. This team will be made up of a host of medical professionals, each of which will owe a duty of care to the patient.
The multidisciplinary team may include the following people, depending on the type and severity of stroke that has been suffered:
- Nursing team
- Occupational therapists
- Clinical psychologists
- Speech therapists and language specialists
- Social workers
- Rehabilitation assistants
Medical advances have meant that it is easier to diagnose and treat strokes and that medical professionals are better trained than ever. What is more, the survival rates for those who suffer from a stroke are improving.
Unfortunately, in some instances, medical staff do make mistakes. Sometimes a stroke is not diagnosed promptly or is not diagnosed at all. Or the condition may be recognised, but improper treatment is provided. Such breaches of the duty of care that is owed to you by medical professionals can lead to significant implications for your recovery and overall wellbeing. In the most serious of cases, medical error or clinical negligence can have fatal consequences.
If you have suffered loss or injury because of medical error, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation. A personal injury solicitor will guide you through the case to ensure that relevant evidence is gathered and time limits are met.
The amount of compensation that will be awarded to you will depend upon the level of suffering and loss that you have sustained as a result of the stroke misdiagnosis.
To find out if you have a valid claim, contact a team of experienced medical negligence solicitors today by calling 0800 678 1410 for a free case assessment. This service is provided without any obligation to proceed and is an excellent opportunity for you to receive some free legal advice and ask any questions you may have.