Strokes are one of the leading causes of death all across the United States. The CDC estimates that someone in the country has a stroke every 40 seconds. With so many people at risk, misdiagnosing a stroke could have deadly results. Medical professionals should be on high alert when someone presents with symptoms of a stroke or has complaints that could signal an impending stroke. However, not all doctors and hospitals take the proper precautions, putting countless people at risk every day for a stroke misdiagnosis.
If you or a loved one is the victim of an undiagnosed stroke, you could have a claim against the medical provider and any other negligent parties, such as the hospital. To learn more about what your legal options are in this situation, it’s crucial to speak with an experienced New Mexico medical malpractice lawyer at Poulos & Coates, LLP. We are the only law firm in New Mexico exclusively specializing in medical malpractice cases. We have handled numerous misdiagnosed stroke lawsuits. We can fight for your family’s right to financial compensation from the parties who need to be held accountable.
What Is a Stroke?
You may hear a stroke referred to as a brain attack. It can happen in one of two different ways. The first is an ischemic stroke, which is when the blood supply to the brain is blocked. The second is a hemorrhagic stroke, which is when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. Strokes cause the brain tissue to die, leading to brain damage, long-term disability, and, in some cases, death.
Risk factors for a stroke are preventable in some ways. Factors like your sex, age, and ethnicity are not within your control, but lifestyle changes are. Drinking too much alcohol, smoking, and not getting enough exercise can increase your risk. This is because these lifestyle habits lead to issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity, all of which increase your risk of having a stroke.
The CDC estimates that a stroke kills nearly 150,000 of the 860,000 people who die of cardiovascular disease every year in the United States. That translates to 1 in every 19 deaths from all causes. Strokes come in fifth for the leading cause of death in the United States, and it’s the number one cause of serious long-term disability. With nearly 80% of strokes being preventable, medical professionals play a central role in reducing the risk of serious damage.
Symptoms and Signs of a Stroke
With a stroke, literally every minute counts. Prompt treatment can reduce the risk of severe brain damage in many cases. It’s imperative to learn the signs and symptoms of a possible stroke so you can contact 911 right away. Knowing what to look for could help you save your own life or the life of someone else.
Common stroke symptoms include:
- Sudden weakness or numbness in the face, arm, or leg, primarily concentrated on one side of your body;
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both of your eyes;
- Sudden confusion, difficulty understanding speech, or difficulty speaking;
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause; and
- Sudden dizziness, lack of coordination, difficulty working, or loss of balance.
If symptoms disappear quickly, you may have experienced a TIA or transient ischemic attack. While they go away, they are the sign of something serious, and you should seek medical attention. It could help you avoid a more significant stroke in the future.
Medical Mistakes and Stroke Misdiagnosis
Numerous mistakes and errors can cause a stroke misdiagnosis. Examples of errors that could’ve possibly prevented stroke damage include:
- Not reading test results correctly;
- Not getting a thorough and proper medical history;
- Not performing a thorough physical examination;
- Errors with laboratory tests;
- Not ordering necessary tests in time;
- Delaying the diagnosis, misdiagnosing the stroke as something else, or failing to diagnose the stroke;
- Not considering stroke in a patient that seems or healthy or is younger; and
- Delaying the test for a stroke or treatment.
Injury from a stroke affects more than the victim’s physical and emotional state. It can cause financial hardships as well. When you retain a skilled New Mexico medical malpractice lawyer, we can help you pursue a claim for damages.
Consequences of a Misdiagnosed Stroke
Someone who is the victim of a misdiagnosed or undiagnosed stroke could experience a wide variety of consequences. Some of the most common ones include:
- More severe stroke;
- Brain injury;
- Difficulty with speech or understanding words;
- Loss of motor skills;
- Paralysis, usually on one side of the body;
- Difficulty with swallowing;
- Memory issues;
- Depression and other behavioral changes;
- Difficulty with writing and reading; and
Timely treatment and proper diagnosis can reduce damage or even reverse it in some cases. If a stroke is undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, it means there is no treatment at all or possibly a delay in treatment.
Potential Compensation You Can Recover
Potentially recoverable damages will vary based on the circumstances of your claim. In general, you could collect compensation for:
- Long-term care expenses,
- Long-term disability,
- Pain and suffering,
- Lost wages,
- Loss of earning capacity,
- Funeral and burial expenses,
- Current medical bills,
- Future medical expenses,
- Loss of companionship, and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
When you meet with a medical malpractice lawyer from Poulos & Coates, LLP, we will explain which damages you could be entitled to receive.
Hiring a New Mexico Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you believe you have a potential misdiagnosed stroke lawsuit, it’s crucial to contact a New Mexico medical malpractice lawyer right away. Time is of the essence with these cases. The team at Poulos & Coates, LLP, has over 70 years of combined experience helping victims of medical malpractice. We have successfully resolved countless cases and recovered more than $100 million in compensation for our clients, either through settlement negotiations or jury verdicts.
Let us help you and your family fight for the compensation you are owed after a stroke misdiagnosis. Contact Poulos & Coates today to schedule an initial consultation. Let us review the facts of your case and advise you on the best legal course of action.