What Is a Stroke?
Strokes, or cerebrovascular accidents, are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, as well as a leading cause of adult disability. A stroke occurs when a ruptured blood vessel (cerebral hemorrhage) or blood clot (cerebral infarction) prevents oxygen and blood flow from reaching the brain, triggering cell death and resulting in permanent tissue damage.
Proper diagnosis and early treatment are crucial to a successful recovery from a stroke. It is critical to get to a medical provider as soon as possible after symptoms begin, so they can perform necessary testing and administer the appropriate treatment(s), many of which are time sensitive. If a health care provider failed to properly diagnose or treat your stroke, you could be entitled to compensation.
Prevention is also an important part of stroke safety. The strongest risk factors for strokes include high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol. For this reason, medical professionals can be held liable for failing to accurately diagnose or treat a patient’s pre-existing conditions and symptoms. In fact, it is estimated that nearly 10% of all stroke patients are the victims of medical misdiagnoses.
Am I Having a Stroke?
Every moment counts when you are experiencing a stroke. Unfortunately, victims are often unable to accurately identify stroke symptoms and forgo calling 911 or seeking medical care soon after symptom onset. Waiting to seek treatment can be devastating to a patient’s outcome.
Fortunately, the National Stroke Association has developed an acronym – FAST – to help victims and bystanders quickly recognize the signs and symptoms of a stroke:
- F – Face: Does your face droop if you try to smile?
- A – Arms: Does one arm drift downward when you raise both of your arms?
- S – Speech: Is your speech slurring?
- T – Time: Call 911 immediately.
Other common symptoms of a stroke include: loss of vision, severe headaches, lack of coordination, nausea, and confusion.
Your Treatment Options
You may have access to several treatment options depending on the cause of your stroke. For example, if you have an ischemic stroke, your doctor may prescribe an FDA-approved drug called tissue plasminogen activator (TPA), or “alteplase.” This drug is administered through an IV to dissolve any clots that are impeding blood flow to the brain.
Another option is an endovascular procedure, which is also called a mechanical thrombectomy. For this procedure, the doctor inserts a catheter into a groin artery and threads a stent retriever up to the blocked artery in the brain. The stent retriever grabs and removes the clot, restoring blood flow to the brain.
The Purpose of National Stroke Awareness Month
Each May, the National Stroke Association leads the nation in observing National Stroke Awareness Month. The purpose of this annual campaign is to educate the public about potential risk factors, preventative measures, and how best to identify the signs and symptoms of a stroke. According to the National Stroke Association, their mission is to urge “the public to look at their stroke risk factors, and pledge to make at least one change to reduce their stroke risk.”
Interested in observing or supporting National Stroke Awareness Month? You can lend your support in the following ways:
- Commit to making a positive life change that improves a stroke risk factor
- Share your personal stories and experiences online
- Plan or participate in a community event
- Raise awareness about stroke in your community
- Volunteer at an organization that supports stroke survivors
- Donate to the National Stroke Association or a research organization
Contact Wagner Reese to Explore Your Legal Options
You may have grounds to file a claim if your doctor failed to administer preventative treatments, misdiagnosed your condition, or didn’t treat the stroke once it occurred. The Indianapolis medical malpractice attorneys at Wagner Reese can investigate your case, collect pertinent evidence, and consult with medical experts to establish that your doctor failed to provide you with a reasonable level of care. If your lawsuit is successful, you may recover damages that account for your past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of future earning capacity, and more. Our team is comprised of talented negotiators and litigators who can help you protect your rights and secure a settlement or verdict on your behalf.