Every four minutes in the United States, someone dies of a stroke. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 800,000 people suffer from strokes each year, costing the country nearly $34 million in healthcare services, medications, and lost earnings. For such a common occurrence, it can be difficult to recognize the warning signs and symptoms of a stroke, especially in young people. Often, the symptoms mimic other, less severe conditions. A 2014 study from Johns Hopkins University suggests that emergency room doctors may be up to 30 percent more likely to misdiagnose a stroke, especially in women and minorities. In treating a stroke, experts agree that time is of the essence, so it is crucial that providers recognize and address a stroke as early as possible.
What Is a stroke?
A stroke occurs when the blood flow to the brain is suddenly stopped or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. In these situations, the brain is deprived of oxygen and vital nutrients. There are three types of strokes:
- Ischemic – Ischemic stroke is the most common form of stroke. It typically occurs when a blood clot blocks the artery that supplies blood to the brain.
- Hemorrhagic – A hemorrhagic stroke results when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, causing blood to leak into the brain. This damages the surrounding brain cells. This type can occur inside the brain or in the space between the brain and the thin layer that surrounds it.
- Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) – Often called a mini-stroke, a TIA lasts only a few minutes. There is no way to know, however, if one is experiencing a major stroke or a TIA, so it is important to seek treatment immediately. Additionally, more than a third of all people who experience a TIA will have a major stroke within a year without treatment.
Though the signs and symptoms of a stroke can be similar to other diseases, there are key indicators that medical treatment is necessary. Symptoms include numbness or weakness in the face or other muscles, sudden confusion or trouble speaking, loss of balance, dizziness, and severe headache.
Time Is Crucial in the Treatment of a Stroke
Research has shown that timely treatment can have a serious impact on future outcomes and lifestyle. A 2013 study published in Stroke suggests that stroke victims who receive medication within 90 minutes, experience better recovery and fewer lasting disabilities. Researchers from that study noted that treatment within an hour would be ideal, but acknowledged that it is difficult to achieve considering the time it could take the stroke victim to recognize the need for care and the hospital to be able to administer that care.
Experts agree time is important in administering lifesaving medications and reducing the impact of stroke-related disabilities. If a medical provider misses the diagnosis, the patients could have lifelong medical needs and disabilities.
If you or someone you love suffered a stroke that was misdiagnosed, you could have a right to make a claim. Call the experienced team at the Tapella & Eberspacher Law firm for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your unique case.