Columbia Stroke Misdiagnosis Lawyer

Strokes are one of the leading causes of brain damage and can lead to irreversible mental and physical impairment. If a stroke is not properly treated, it can even lead to death. By some estimates, up to 140,000 Americans die from strokes every year. While we trust doctors to diagnose medical conditions, especially life-threatening ones, this unfortunately does not always happen. For instance, strokes are incorrectly viewed as something that affects only older patients, one of many factors that can lead to them being misdiagnosed. If you or a loved one had a stroke but your doctor failed to inform you of it, it’s time to speak with our team. You may be eligible for stroke misdiagnosis compensation for the injury and damages you’ve suffered. A stroke misdiagnosis lawyer at Rikard & Protopapas in Columbia, SC, can help.

Types of Strokes and Their Causes

Young people, women, and minorities in particular are often misdiagnosed, yet anyone can suffer one of these debilitating attacks. The more their families understand these conditions and why they happen, the better.

Ischemic stroke

The ischemic stroke accounts for about 87% of all strokes and is caused by clots that cut off the blood supply to the brain. These strokes are also called venous strokes in children and newborns due to fat deposits in the brain that form a clot.

A particular type of ischemic stroke is the embolic stroke. This occurs when a blood clot somewhere else in the body (usually the heart) breaks free and travels to the brain, blocking one of the arteries.

Hemorrhagic stroke

If a blood vessel breaks, blood can collect inside or outside the brain and exert pressure on brain tissue. This can cause a hemorrhagic stroke. It typically occurs because of a weakened blood vessel that itself results from high blood pressure.

There are two kinds of hemorrhagic strokes:

  • Intracerebral hemorrhage: Caused by bleeding from the blood vessels inside the brain. It is less common than an ischemic stroke but usually more dangerous.
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage: Caused by bleeding in the subarachnoid space which lies between the brain and the membranes that cover it. This is the least common type of stroke, accounting for about 5% of all incidents.

Transient ischemic attack (TIA)

Similar to an ischemic stroke, a transient ischemic attack or TIA is caused by a small but temporary blood clot that interrupts blood flow to the brain. Since the TIA doesn’t cause permanent damage, it is often ignored. This is especially the case in the busy and stressful medical environment of the emergency room. However, the TIA can be a precursor to a larger, more serious stroke, so it should never be disregarded.

Cryptogenic stroke

This is simply the name doctors use when they don’t know what caused a patient’s stroke. Symptoms and complications are the same, however, so a cryptogenic stroke can be just as dangerous as one of the above.

What Are the Symptoms and Complications of Strokes?

A stroke patient will typically exhibit such signs as:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the arms, legs, or face, especially limited to one side of the body
  • Difficulty with moving or walking
  • Confusion, inability to understand, and difficulty speaking
  • Blurred vision and trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Dizziness, loss of balance, and coordination problems
  • Sudden extreme headache with no apparent cause

Complications may include:

  • Brain edema (swelling of the brain)
  • Pneumonia
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI) and/or bladder control problems
  • Seizures
  • Depression
  • Pressure ulcers from inability to move
  • Limb contracture (shortening) due to inactivity or inability to move
  • Spasticity, or stiff and tight muscles
  • Shoulder pain
  • Deep venous thrombosis (DVT), when blood clots form in leg veins due to lack of movement

Whose Responsibility Is It to Diagnose and Assess the Risk of Stroke?

An emergency room physician or urgent care provider is typically the first medical professional to see a patient who presents with stroke symptoms. Any doctors or nurses responsible for surgeries or procedures involving the brain should be aware of the increased risk of stroke. It is therefore vital to the patient’s health and life that the professional who treats the patient uses their training and experience to properly diagnose the problem.

One hurdle to doing so is that there are conditions like migraines, seizures, and abnormal blood glucose levels that can mimic stroke symptoms. The medical professional should be able to rule out these conditions by:

  • Obtaining the patient’s medical history, including medications
  • Asking the patient questions about symptoms and how quickly they set in
  • Determining if the patient has any risk factors for a stroke (e.g. high blood pressure)
  • Conducting neurological tests, blood tests, and imaging tests

Why Would a Missed Stroke Diagnosis Happen?

A stroke can be misdiagnosed due to such reasons as:

  • Lack of training and experience (e.g. falsely assuming stroke symptoms indicate a migraine)
  • Delayed diagnosis, or failure to see the patient in time
  • Not obtaining the patient’s medical history
  • Failure to ask pertinent questions about the symptoms
  • Not ordering the necessary diagnostic tests
  • Misinterpreting test results
  • Understaffing
  • Overworked doctors and nurses

How Is a Misdiagnosed Stroke Proven in a Medical Malpractice Trial?

Our firm starts by investigating the circumstances surrounding the stroke and the failure of the medical professional or facility to diagnose it. This means reviewing medical records, talking to staff members, and using discovery methods such as depositions and subpoenas once a lawsuit is filed. We also learn more from the patient about how the stroke has impacted their life in terms of additional medical treatments, missed time from work, pain and suffering, and more.

Part of proving that the missed stroke diagnosis was malpractice requires consulting with expert witnesses. These are individuals with specialized or technical knowledge who can explain complex subjects such as the applicable standard of care that doctors are expected to apply in their practice.

Expert witnesses help establish that malpractice (negligence) was responsible for the missed diagnosis. They are also valuable for explaining the patient’s damages, including future ones that are likely to be incurred due to malpractice. This is essential for justifying your demand for stroke misdiagnosis compensation.

Contact Our Stroke Misdiagnosis Lawyers in Columbia, South Carolina

Time is of the essence when it comes to seeking compensation for your stroke misdiagnosis.

You may be eligible for damages related to medical expenses and more, but it will take time to gather the evidence and develop a compelling case. There are also time deadlines to take legal action, so don’t wait to speak with a knowledgeable stroke misdiagnosis lawyer.

Reach out to Rikard & Protopapas today to learn more. You can message us online or call 803-978-6111 to begin your case.

Rikard & Protopapas Logo

Available 24/7

Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

By providing your phone number, you agree to receive text messages from Rikard & Protopapas. Message and data rates may apply. Message frequency varies.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.