A stroke is a neurological condition in which a person manifests symptoms, such as paralysis, altered sensation of one side of the body, or speech difficulties. A stroke is caused by a diminished or absent blood flow to a part of the brain. Because various parts of the brain are responsible for different neurological functions, from basic functions such as breathing, to movement and sensation, to advanced functions as thought, the symptoms demonstrated by a person having a stroke are a reflection of the affected area in the brain. Strokes are most commonly due to a blockage of an artery in the brain and are referred to as ischemic strokes. The blockage is caused by a blood clot. The other cause of a stroke is bleeding in the brain which can be due to high blood pressure or one of several blood vessel abnormalities.
When diagnosis of a stroke is being entertained by a physician, time is of the essence and the initial assessment must determine the cause of the stroke as the treatment is different for an ischemic stroke versus a hemorrhagic stroke. If the diagnosis is an ischemic stroke, thrombolytic treatment, a breaking up of the clot causing a stroke, can be initiated only within three hours of the onset of the stroke. If the time of onset of stroke symptoms cannot be accurately determined then this treatment should be withheld. If the stroke is due to hemorrhage, then thrombolytic treatment cannot be given as it will cause further hemorrhage in the brain. Thus, it is imperative that a person with a change in neurological status be assessed rapidly so that the proper treatment can be initiated and further damage avoided. If you or a family member has suffered as a result of a misdiagnosis of stroke or a failure to diagnose stroke and treat in a timely manner, contact our experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Kalavruzos, Mumola, Hartman & Lento, LLC. to learn your legal rights or simply answer your questions.