When blood flow to the brain is restricted, it results in cell-death and what follows is known as a Cerebro-Vascular Accident (CVA) more commonly known as a “stroke.” Strokes can also be caused by bleeding inside the brain.
Some strokes can result in death, while others leave the patient temporarily or permanently disabled. They can also cause increased vulnerability to other conditions and diseases, emotional and cognitive disorders, mood swings, language and speech difficulties etc. The symptoms can range from dizziness, severe headaches, vision disturbances, numbness, weakness to difficulties in walking, slurred speech etc.
Surviving A Stroke
Immediate medical attention is required to limit the damage to the brain and also reduce the extent of resultant disability. Strokes are often misdiagnosed or the symptoms are disregarded by negligent or busy health-care professionals. This can result in huge consequences for the patient and families of such patients.
Fatal strokes have reduced considerably in number across Canada, and today, studies show that there is an almost 83% survival rate. However, surviving a stroke brings its own set of issues that the patient and family have to deal with. Severe physical, financial and emotional burdens are imposed on the patient and all those involved in caring for the patient.
Recent data shows that nearly 405,000 people have survived a stroke and are living with a variety of disabilities. The figures are projected to be even higher by 2038, where almost 750,000 Canadians may be living with stroke-induced disabilities.
One of the reasons for these alarming figures could be the rapidly aging population across the country. Improvements in medical care also result in higher survival rates, but as David Sculthorpe, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation warns, we need to do even more in “raising awareness of the signs of stroke and improving prevention and care.”
When the stroke occurs, the immediate emergency treatment focuses on stabilizing the system. Following this, a rigorous and systematic treatment plan has to be put in place to limit the destructive effects of the stroke.
The treatment for dealing with strokes should include:
- Early intervention in a stroke rehabilitation unit attached to a hospital
- Subacute treatment
- Home-based therapy
- Outpatient therapy
- Long-term patient care for onsite treatment or nursing care if required
Often doctors focus on helping the patient survive the stroke, but where they may fall short is in providing the appropriate follow-up care. This can lead to prolonged periods of disability, deterioration in brain function, failure to fully recover etc.
If you or a dear one has suffered a stroke due to misdiagnosis, or failed to receive the proper follow-up treatment, it’s important to consult an experienced, qualified and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer who has dealt with similar cases earlier.
Types of Misdiagnosis
Health-care workers/Doctors may fail to:
- Analyze patient history/records
- Monitor patient in the hospital
- Perform CT/MRI scan
- Discharge patient without proper work-up
- Consult neurologist/neuro-surgeon
- Provide clot-dissolving medications
Keeping these factors in mind, in some cases, failure to prevent, diagnose or treat strokes can be construed as medical malpractice. An experienced personal injury lawyer can advise/assist/advocate for you in such a situation.