Stroke Misdiagnosis / Delayed Diagnosis Attorneys in Pittsburgh, PA
Western Pennsylvania Lawyers Handling Stroke Misdiagnosis Cases
Stroke, which involves the interruption of blood to the brain, kills around 130,000 people in the United States every year and leaves many more severely disabled. These stroke victims often lose their ability to speak, walk, or see. They can suffer cognitive deficits, emotional challenges, and memory problems. As with other illnesses and conditions, the prognosis for stroke victims improves significantly when doctors diagnose the condition quickly so that correct treatment can begin.
Unfortunately, strokes frequently go undiagnosed by doctors in Pennsylvania, delaying treatment that can save lives and reduce the severity of disability. In addition, PA doctors sometimes misdiagnose strokes as some other condition, subjecting the patient to treatment that is ineffective at best and dangerous at worst. When this happens because a doctor or other provider was negligent, victims or their families may be eligible for compensation for their losses and expenses.
How Doctors Should Diagnose a Stroke
Because a stroke is a medical emergency, the first providers to see most stroke victims are emergency department personnel. These medical professionals are trained to follow certain steps when making a stroke diagnosis. These steps include:
- Taking a full medical history.
- Determining which medications the patient is taking.
- Identifying factors that increase stroke risk, such as smoking, high cholesterol, heart diseases, and other
- Conducting neurologic and blood tests.
- Using CT and MRI scans to find evidence of blood clots and bleeding.
Despite knowing how to diagnose stroke, doctors either miss or discount signs of stroke in many thousands of patients every year.
Why Do Doctors Misdiagnose or Delay Diagnosis of Stroke?
In many cases, doctors know how to diagnose stroke but are negligent and fail to follow the standards and protocols for making this diagnosis. Sometimes the problem is cultural: doctors cannot understand patients because of language barriers but still fail to find an interpreter. Or doctors may make false assumptions: if the patient is younger, the doctor might not diagnose a stroke because they assume that people in their 40s cannot suffer strokes. Moreover, physicians are more likely to misdiagnose women and minorities because of cultural barriers and biases. Physicians may fail to understand the test results or they may overlook a critical element that would indicate stroke.
The law can find doctors liable for injuries they caused by failing to follow the established standard of care because of negligent acts such as these.
Contact Our Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Lawyers About a Stroke Misdiagnosis
If you believe that you were injured or that a loved one died because of a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of stroke, Berger & Lagnese, LLC can help you. Our Pittsburgh medical malpractice lawyers have a long tradition of helping victims of medical negligence related to stroke. Contact us now to learn about your legal options.